- Alexander Schaefer
4 Reasons Why P2P CDN Will Boom In 2020
With OTT as the most actively growing broadcasting distribution channel and new services popping up every day, video streaming and television will experience an incredible and disruptive change. Companies must adapt to the behavior and expectations of their target group. This adaption includes not only Full HD or even Ultra HD content on demand, accessible from any device, but also a TV-like experience for linear content. Especially Gaming and Sports are predicted to be the highest consumer demand within the next years with substantial growth rates.
To hold up with the tremendous growth in demand, OVPs have to think about new strategies to scale up their infrastructure and provide the best-in-class quality of experience to their subscribers. Even a slight disadvantage in the users’ streaming experience can lead to massive revenue losses and user losses from dissatisfied customers who then switch to another (more powerful) content provider.
One strategy to prevent this is to use a P2P CDN (Peer-to-Peer content delivery network) for scalability, cost reduction, and quality improvement. Traditional CDNs can usually only improve the infrastructure owned by them and count on ISPs to also expand their network strongly enough. However, this is a bold assumption. While you can use multiple CDNs to gain as much power as possible within the network, last mile delivery will always be a matter of the ISP’s capacity and available bandwidth. Peer-To-Peer CDNs can help to reduce the potential impact of this uncontrollable bottleneck from the equation of a content provider’s linear infrastructure.
In this article, we present 4 reasons why Peer-To-Peer CDNs will become of much more importance than last years. The arguments we make reflect both our experiences with customers and industry partners and current trends and movements within the broadcasting industry to explain why P2P Live Streaming will have a massive impact on how broadcasters will deliver live video content to a broad audience in the future.
But let’s first take a quick look at how a P2P CDN actually works.
How do P2P CDNs work?
The main purpose of a CDN is to deliver content faster and to reduce latency. Therefore, a traditional HTTP-based content delivery network is made up of a bunch of servers, which are geographically distributed in a way that they are positioned between the receiving server and the server that sends the content. Once a user requests content, the data is split into smaller chunks and sent through all the incorporated servers. The same goes for the next user who requests the same content – and so on and so forth.
A P2P CDN on the other hand doesn´t require any HTTP servers at all. Instead, they leverage users for the distribution of content. Peer-to-peer CDNs work by connecting the users via WebRTC without the need for a plugin to be installed on the user’s device.
If a user requests content, instead of sending it directly from the origin server, the system first checks for available peers to deliver the content from. If this is the case, the content will be delivered from that source (i.e. user) without connecting to the original server. To minimize latency, peers are grouped into „meshs“ based on the content the users consume.
Reason 1: Multi-CDN Is More And More Adopted
A few years ago, multi-CDN solutions were not yet suitable for the mass market, but this has changed in recent years. Modern CDN switchers can select from a variety of CDNs for each viewer and dynamically determine the best route through the network based on end-device information.
These technologies are currently causing a paradigm shift in the broadcasting industry. Nowadays, it goes without saying that every major broadcaster has to build (or will within the next 3 years) on a multi-CDN infrastructure. Like client-side CDN switchers, a P2P CDN also uses end-device information to determine the best ratio of content consumption from a CDN’s edge servers and other end-devices providing the same content. The idea of using end-devices to optimize content delivery was quite unpopular for some time until Peer-To-Peer CDNs were no longer the only providers suggesting this method. Multi-CDN solutions require the same approach. This opens the door to concepts such as a P2P CDN, which can now simply be seen as part of a multi-CDN strategy. While a multi-CDN strategy has the goal to always choose the best CDN provider based on custom business rules and a single user’s network information, Peer-To-Peer CDNs can help to achieve the same goal within the last mile.
Reason 2: WebRTC Has Grown To A Mature & Widely Adopted Technology Stack
Reason 3: OTT Continues Taking Over The Global TV Market
Reason 4: First Adoptions Of Chunked Streaming (CMAF) & Low-Latency Streaming
Peer-To-Peer delivery still has to make its way into the industry. While more and more companies get interested in the general idea, there are also other trends within the industry, moving towards the same ideas and concepts. At Strive, we thought that P2P Streaming is one of the most efficient ways to deliver live video content since the beginning. We are very excited to see what 2019 will bring and how the world’s largest OTT providers will face the hard challenges that come with the non-stop growth in demand and audience size.
About Strive Technologies
Strive is a leading technology provider for OTT broadcasters and live streaming companies. Our technology “Flink” is used by broadcasting companies around the world to improve video QoE and cost efficiency. Based in Germany, Strive developed Flink over a seven-year period of time, constantly improving and adapting the technology to the quickly shifting market requirements. Today, Flink connects over 150,000 users worldwide on a daily basis, saving our customers over 80% of CDN traffic with our unique server-side-managed Peer-To-Peer network.