Choosing a Content Delivery Method

Posted August 2009




Cache-based content distribution networks (CDNs) reach very large volumes of highly dispersed end users by duplicating centrally hosted video, audio and data content across the Internet. Geographically distributed cache servers reduce the proximity between user and content, thereby reducing latency and increasing the performance of real-time traffic.


Content owners wishing to widely distribute their content, but not in a position to build and manage a worldwide cache CDN themselves, have two primary sources for procuring cache-based CDN services:

1. a Network-based CDN provider that also offers WAN and Internet infrastructure/access connectivity services to end users, or

2. a CDN provider that installs and operates the CDN cache overlay to the network infrastructure.


As this paper discusses, there are distinct advantages of turning to a Network-based CDN provider, who is responsible for the basic routing, troubleshooting, operations and management of the network at Layers 1-3 in addition to providing the CDN services. By contrast, the CDN-only provider typically has no visibility into Layer 1-3 network conditions and thus has comparatively limited control over content delivery performance.



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