11 May, 2021

What is CDN? Why CDN is Important For Video Streaming?

The video streaming industry is skyrocketing, and so is the content delivery network (CDN) with it. The CDN market is predicted to double to US$30 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of more than 16%.

The increased need for delivering latency-free quality video experiences to viewers is driving this exponential growth, resulting in more and more businesses opting for a built-in CDN streaming platform. 

What is CDN?

CDN (content delivery network) is a platform of servers distributed over various geographical locations that help minimize the delays in loading a web page. CDN virtually reduces the physical distance between the user and the server, which eliminates latency and allows faster access to content.

CDN works by distributing the content over various servers all across the globe. So when a user requests the content, a nearby server responds to the request in place of the origin server. This reduces traffic and subsequent load on the origin, thereby minimizing the chance of failure in case of exceedingly high traffic.

On the users’ end, the CDN platform facilitates the delivery of high-quality content in the least possible time, improving viewer experiences. Hence, it’s a win-win for both content providers and users.

 Why Should You Use a CDN?

CDN providers are essential for the fast and efficient distribution of content worldwide, which comprises not only the website but also 4K and HD-quality video, apps, audio streams, games, and more. Listed below are some of the key reasons for using a video CDN solution.

  • Bandwidth:

    Bandwidth is the measurement of data transfer on a network at any given time. If the stream of data exceeds the network capacity, data delivery gets choked off. Using a content distribution network eases the burden of stream delivery and eliminates the choke point.

  • Global content delivery:

    CDNs distribute the content across various servers worldwide, allowing content delivery from the nearest server to a user. This means that a user from India accessing a live stream from Australia can receive the content from a server in India instead of waiting for it to load from Australia.

  • Latency and RTT reduction:

    Using a CDN reduces the RTT (round-trip time) for live streams, which minimizes the latency. As the user’s request no longer has to reach the origin server, the response-request round trips get shorter in distance and time. Thus, reducing the delays.

  • Workload:

    Responding to a user request takes some amount of computing power of a server. Multiple requests at a time make it overwhelming for a single server. With a content distribution network, the workload gets distributed to various servers, keeping the origin server up and running.

  • Caching:

    Video CDNs store the live stream content in caches, facilitating the delivery through caches instead of the origin server. This makes the user acquire access to the information easier with minimal lag time.

Essential Features to Consider in a CDN for Video Streaming

A good content delivery network provider is crucial for the smooth working of a video streaming platform. Here are some essential features to consider in a CDN solution for selecting the best content delivery network for your streaming platform.

  • The number of servers in the network:

    The number of servers in a network helps a great deal in determining its scalability and speed. Ideally, a CDN should have a large number of servers because more servers mean more bandwidth. So if there is an unexpected increase in user requests, the load gets distributed to various servers, resulting in faster responses.

  • Geographic distribution of the servers:

    A CDN should have its servers evenly distributed around the world. As CDNs operate through points of presence (PoP) that deliver the content directly to users, the closer a PoP is found to a user, the better it gets with the streaming experience. If many CDN servers are confined to a particular region, other regions are bound to get low-quality super-slow streams.

  • Average performance:

    The speed of your CDN greatly determines its average performance. The higher the speed, the lesser hurdle you face with its buffering. Though it’s not easy to measure the speed of a CDN as it depends on various variables, you can compare the average performance of different CDNs to get an idea of their speed.

  • Analytics:

    A CDN should provide detailed insights into the live streams, which can include data about the number of viewers, the geographical location of the majority of viewers, and other related information. These analytics serve as a marketing tool and help to improve overall performance.

  • Pricing:

    The video CDN pricing varies from provider to provider. Some CDNs have standard prices, while others might charge you a higher rate if your video gets viral and more people join in. Your audience volume and geographical location play a major role in determining the pricing of your live streaming platform.

Why is CDN Necessary for Video Streaming?

CDNs make it easier for you to deliver a superior experience to your viewers, resulting in improved business growth. The below-listed benefits of CDNs will convince you to opt for a good CDN for video streaming.

  • Scalability:

    CDNs are the fastest way to stream your content to numerous viewers. They can accommodate unexpected spikes in traffic and easily handle viral viewerships. Thus, helping your streaming platform escalate.

  • Quality:

    CDNs use multiple servers worldwide for content delivery, reducing lagging and delays in loading. They bypass any traffic in between, resulting in faster and better streaming experiences.

  • Reliability:

    Streaming content through CDNs helps in preventing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which occur due to several breaching attempts simultaneously. By enabling switchover with multiple access points, CDNs enhance the platform’s reliability.

  • Enhanced Performance:

    By caching content in PoPs around the world, CDNs helps to bring your content closer to viewers. It reduces data loss, latency thus increasing in website loading speed. Hence, this improves the overall streaming performance.

  • Increased Availability:

    CDNs ensure the delivery of your content to viewers irrespective of their geographical locations. In the case of excess user traffic, CDNs distribute the load to various PoPs to prevent origin server outages. Thus, it ensures the availability of your content to all users.

  • High Security:

    With increased digital activity, the chances of digital fraud also sharply increase. So, CDNs keep your information secure by archiving the content with encryption and authentication. A good CDN has up-to-date features to tackle unexpected security threats.

  • Reduced Abandonment and Increased Conversions:

    Before the UI/UX kicks in, it is the latency of the platform that decides whether the user will stay or leave. CDN helps minimize the loading time, ensuring a better experience from the beginning, resulting in reduced abandonment and increased conversions.

Conclusion

CDNs are essential for a seamless user experience with faster, reliable, and secure content transmission. Streaming bulky video files across large distances and numerous users can be challenging for businesses. A video CDN with advanced features streamline this process, resulting in increased user subscriber counts, better growth, and higher revenue.

Content Delivery Network

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