French CDN technology vendor Broadpeak is giving its umbrellaCDN concept an airing at ANGA Cable, Europe’s annual show for broadband and cable operators held in Cologne, Germany.
The platform enables content providers to allocate video to different CDNs on the basis of selection criteria such as format, end-user location, content source, quality and time of day. Broadpeak’s umbrellaCDN also supports centralization of content geo-blocking, with the ability to manage the sending of replacement content, while providing analytics information about audiences and content consumption.
The idea of automated routing between multiple CDNs is likely to gain traction as the CDN field continues to expand, offering more choice for content owners and distributors. Originally, the field was dominated by just a handful of global players like Akamai and Limelight, but then Telcos invaded the scene partly to alleviate their own backbones under the strain of growing video traffic. Telcos were also able to extend the CDN advantage in terms of service quality closer to the end user, since they owned the network over which video is transmitted down to the last mile. This enables content to be cached deeper and closer to the subscriber, reducing latency because the final hop is shorter and traverses fewer network nodes such as IP routers.
Broadpeak itself has recognized this potential and gone further by extending the CDN right into the subscriber’s home with its nanoCDN concept, which it introduced at IBC2012 and is also on show at ANGA Cable. This incorporates the access circuit fully inside the CDN, which has the effect that end-to-end bandwidth consumption as far as the home remains constant irrespective of usage, even at peak times, and no matter how many devices are accessing the streams within the home. To make this work, Broadpeak modifies the streams at the point of ingest into the nanoCDN, and then within the home network a small piece of software undoes those changes so that the video can be viewed.
A portal accessed by home devices allows subscribers to select content, pointing to a central server that in turn routes requests to the right streams. If a live stream then becomes one of the most popular channels, it automatically gets switched to multicast. An application on the Home Gateway then transforms the multicast stream back to unicast within the home so as to keep the final device, such as a tablet, PC or smartphone, unchanged.
It remains to be seen whether this total end to end CDN concept catches on, with an attraction being its support for multicast live OTT delivery without having to own the end-to-end path, just the server and gateway at either end.