With the increasing demand for content delivery to a global customer, businesses were facing issues with streaming quality and delivery time. Not only this, there has been a constant demand for improving streaming security as the rise of content piracy.
To improve user experience and provide end-to-end streaming security, businesses have revolutionized the content distribution system by introducing built-in CDN, which has caused the development of effective CDN edge servers.
In this blog, we are going to discuss the importance of CDN edge servers for the streaming industry.
What is a CDN edge server?
- A CDN edge server can be defined as a computer that serves connections between different networks. This server stores the streaming content (video, audio, images, etc.) as cached data. To make it easier to deliver lag-free streaming to the users, there have been multiple edge servers located in different geographical regions.
- When the origin server handles all the streaming requests without an edge server, depending on the distance between the server and the user, there may be some delay/buffering in streaming. Also, there is an additional requirement for RTT, which is the round trip time. It is essential for confirming the end-to-end streaming security through SSL/TLS.
- The edge network is implemented adjacent to or outside the origin network and pulls information from the origin content delivery network to process end users’ requests.
- The advancement of network architecture has upgraded edge networks into interconnected networks, which have improved network performance, flexibility, and scalability. Also, the usage of APIs in streaming delivery services has expanded the network workflow automation process.
- Advanced edge network has an array of exclusive functionalities including load balancing, traffic management, and a dedicated routing system that is context-driven and has real-time control over changing the logic of the content delivery system.
How does the edge server work?
Edge servers store the cached version of streaming data to make the streaming content delivery light and fast.
Here is what a typical edge network process workflow looks like:
1- When a user clicks on the play button on his device, the content provider’s website CDN receives the streaming request.
2- Anycast DNS is used to determine which edge server is present nearer to the users’ device, and according to that CDN routes the streaming request to that edge server.
3- In cases where the cached content for the same video is available in the edge server, it directly sends the response to the user device, which delivers a zero-buffer playtime to the user.
4- In cases where the edge server does not have the cached content for the same video, it sends requests to the CDN, then proxies the response to the user, and saves the cached content for future reference.
What are the benefits of a CDN edge server?
Low latency streaming
Whenever any streaming request comes, the content is fetched from the edge server present closest to the user device. This causes low streaming latency and improves video quality.
Improves server security
In edge server content streaming, users’ requests are processed from cached data, which keeps the original IP address undiscovered. It improves data integrity and content piracy from DDoS attacks.
Avails 24*7 uptime
In the scenarios where the origin server goes down, the data transmission happens through the edge network, the user gets 24*7 uptime with the highest quality streaming.
Fill in bandwidth requirement
Edge servers bridge the need for data exchange between different networks. Hence leads to low bandwidth usage and results in minimum operational cost.
CDNs are the backbone of streaming services for multiple reasons. Businesses having a global presence, have the requirement to deliver content worldwide. With effective edge servers streaming, OTT organizations have been serving the best quality streaming content 24*7 uninterruptedly.
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