How CDNs Facilitate Faster HTTP Live Streaming

If you’ve ever accessed your favorite video and slow streaming ruined the experience, it’s probably because the site you browsed doesn’t have a CDN configured. CDNs increase performance and stop the choppy, slow videos users hate. HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) is the next generation of live streaming video offered on media platforms. It’s a faster, more convenient way for content providers to deliver media, but without a CDN user experience can ruin a content provider’s subscriber interest.

Where HLS Started

HLS was originally created by Apple to stream media to its iPhone and iPad devices. These devices originally didn’t support Flash content, which was common around the Internet. Apple needed a way to stream media to mobile devices, so it came up with HLS. What was once only supported by Apple, HLS is now supported across multiple devices including Android.

HLS works by breaking up video into ten-second parts and sends it to the viewer. By breaking up video content, performance is increased especially for people with low bandwidth capabilities. In addition to breaking up content into ten-second chunks, HLS allows the viewer to watch with different encoded material and data rates. The viewer’s browser can detect slower bandwidth speeds and reduce quality dynamically. When faster speeds are detected, the browser can then increase quality for higher resolution.

Content Delivery Networks and Better HLS Quality

HLS supports live streaming and video on demand (VOD). Content quality is automatically increased or decreased based on streaming bandwidth, and this speed factor can be improved with a CDN. A CDN increases bandwidth at the server location, but it also gives content providers a broader presence across the globe using strategically placed data centers.

CDN.net has global PoP locations in 131 locations and in 88 cities. Its locations cover 40 countries, which will improve performance just from being closer to the viewer. By configuring a CDN with media publishers, the content creator can improve speed by distributing requests and streaming servers and serving content much closer to the viewer’s location rather than sending responses to requests from one origin server.

Bottlenecks are a thing of the past for content providers. CDNs provide high gigabit capacity. CDN.net offers 2000 gigabit capacity, which means the content provider can scale up as more media is published and user traffic increases. Should an unusual traffic spike happen where an extraordinary amount of traffic is sent to the site, a CDN is able to handle the traffic without performance degradation or choppy streaming. Eliminating both of these factors will keep users coming back to watch videos as user experience is improved.

In addition to performance, CDNs provide an added level of site availability should an origin server fail. CDNs cache data on local servers, so the data is available at the cached location instead of users experiencing downtime. It can be useful during site maintenance and upgrades when the site has a planned outage temporarily.

For any media publisher, CDNs are a must. An origin server could have potentially thousands of viewers in one day, and this kind of traffic can take a huge load on the server resources. CDNs distribute the traffic and load across numerous servers with cached content, which is faster than traditional dynamic data. Get started with CDN.net and provide viewers with the best HLS video experience possible.

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