The vast majority of sites that distribute video today leverage Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to improve the speed and quality of the content experiences they deliver. CDNs are not only for those distributing video over the internet, enterprises also need a CDN video streaming service if they wish to scale the delivery of video to employees. Simply put, the video streaming service of an internet CDN, improves the quality of the end user’s viewing experience by moving large video files from the streaming origin to edge servers in locations electronically closer to the viewer. The number of viewers and their physical locations determine how broadly the content is cached. By serving the content from a local POP (point of presence), congestion on the internet is reduced, and the quality of experience, measured by; reduced buffering, shorter startup time and video resolution, can be improved. CDN streaming services ultimately help to boost the quality of the end user’s viewing experience.
Advantages of CDN platform
Are you or your business involved in streaming live video? If so, you should probably be using a live video CDN. A CDN, or Content Distribution Network, is made up of a network of servers located around the world. Altogether, these servers can help deliver content fast, boost security, and have many other benefits. Video files are large. Anyone on a limited smartphone data plan knows that streaming can eat data fast. A full 79 percent of all global consumer web traffic will come from video by 2018. This also means that streaming video can run into quality and bandwidth problems.
When comparing live video CDN solutions, I recommend you look at a few main elements, such as: Does the service support live streaming and VOD hosting?; Is the pricing expensive or overly complex?; How big is the network?; Does the live video CDN provide PoP (Point-of-Presence) locations in areas where you have a large video audience?; Is there an easy to gain access to the service without complex technical configuration and confusing billing?
What should we be looking for?
Using a live video CDN can produce major cost savings. It is possible to create your own live streaming infrastructure and servers. However, we don’t recommend it for a variety of reasons. Chief among these is the phenomenon of technical debt. Technical debt refers to the time, expense, and staffing required to maintain an infrastructure (equipment, networking, applications, updates, security, etc.) once it is created. Essentially, the idea is that creating your own systems may seem like a good idea during a given time frame, but may come to be a headache to maintain and expand as your systems and dominant technology changes.
Using a CDN to stream live video on a website allows you to outsource these technical expenses to the CDN provider. All you are responsible for is a simple, usually monthly fee. It’s predictable, plus you can depend on the CDN provider to be responsible for updates, security, and all the rest. They gain economies of scale and thus can provide very affordable services to you. This reduces the costs and complexity of maintaining a streaming operation greatly. This is a very important reason to use a live video CDN.
Security firms are measuring an increase in piracy, hacking, and other digital attacks every year. Using a CDN provides you with a greater level of protection against these issues. That’s because CDN providers have dedicated teams of technical professionals working on security issues. By centralizing security for hundreds of clients in-house, the CDN can afford to hire the best talent and build the most robust security tools around. CDNs are typically hardened against DDoS attacks, ransomware, MITM (Man-In-The-Middle) attacks, and more.
Less latency challenges
Latency refers to the lag time between an event taking place in real-life, and that event is displayed on the screen of a user watching the live stream. High latency isn’t a problem—until it is. For example, if your audience is watching the final minutes of a live streaming sports game. Because of latency, their experience has been ruined. There are many other use-cases in which latency can be problematic. For this reason, streamers generally try to keep video latency low.
Online videos with a start-up time exceeding as little as two seconds have significantly higher streaming video abandonment rates. Each incremental second beyond that propels another 6% of viewers to jump ship. This demonstrates that delivering a high-quality video experience to users is essential. Using a CDN helps you to deliver a video stream at several different quality levels simultaneously. This provides each user with a stream that is adapted to their device and their internet connection. For users, quality includes a number of factors. These include bitrate, resolution, and much more. A CDN allows you to maximize quality and reduce buffering issues as easily as possible.
Streaming video requires data. In a traditional website scenario, the more users visit your website, the greater the load there is on your live streaming server. If your servers’ processing power is overloaded, it will run very slowly. In the worst case, it may crash entirely. One-third of all online activity is spent watching video. That’s an insane amount of bandwidth. A CDN allows you to scale dynamically to any size load. By spreading the load between a large number of servers, you can successfully live stream to an audience of millions without compromising quality. If you’re streaming massively popular events, or if your stream goes viral, don’t get caught unprepared.
The biggest and most important benefit of using a live video CDN is faster content loading and reduced buffering. In 2017, 63 percent of live stream viewers said buffering issues were the most serious issue they experience. That number is actually an increase from the previous year. Using a CDN can mostly avoid this issue. How? A CDN eliminates bottlenecks upstream. This maximizes video quality for all viewers and reduces buffering problems. It may also allow viewers to view the highest possible video quality. And quality is important. One survey showed that 62 percent of viewers are likely to view a brand more negatively if they publish a poor quality video.
Hopefully, this information has helped you understand what Content Distribution Networks are, and how they work. The reasons we’ve highlighted here are a good reason to look into using a CDN when broadcasting live video streams. However, as we’ve written, we recommend using a video streaming solution that partners with the best CDN. Video is a stunning amount of data, and they deal with it well. A powerful live video CDN helps you deliver content fast, minimize buffering, and get the best possible video quality in front of your audience. This is our final reason why using a CDN for your streaming video is essential. If you’re interested in testing out a live streaming platform today, check possibilities for cooperation with BlazingCDN.