Intelligent Content Networking
The rapid growth of consumer Internet traffic, mainly due toincreased viewing
of video content via their broadband connections (known as “Over-the-Top”
Video or OTT Video), is driving increased stress on serviceprovider networks
and business models. The frequency, duration, and resolution ofcontent
requests are increasing, which has a dramatic effect onbandwidth requirements.
As we enter into the era of Hyperconnectivity, more and moredevices
are accessing this rich content anywhere, and at anytime. Demandis accelerating
quickly as more content (for example mainstream movies and TVshows) is
becoming available and broader set of Internet-connected devicesare able to
The ability to manage the delivery of certain content types andreduce
bandwidth requirements over Middle Mile, core, and Internettransit networks
can improve profitability for service delivery. IntelligentContent Networking
reduces the strain on the network and improves the userexperience by serving
a broad range of popular, frequently accessed content closer tothe subscriber,
reducing service delivery and internet transit bandwidthrequirements.
Video Takes Over
From peer-to-peer downloads to online gaming, from instantmessaging to
email, from web to video the amount of internet traffic isgrowing significantly.
Video content is rapidly changing the composition of consumerinternet traffic
and is anticipated to make up nearly 60% of requests by 2014.The growth of
video will continue as subscribers’ viewing habits change frombroadcast to
on-demand—at home and on mobile devices—and with higherdefinition
and increased availability of mainstream content, such as moviesand television
series, being offered via the Internet.
Is your network ready for next wave of Internet traffic?
The prevalence of IP-based video has greatly affected the makeupof the packets
traversing a residential internet connection which now includesmultimedia
content, communications, and data; it is the primarycommunications link to
Operators and Users Win with Intelligent Content Networking
Irrespective of the type, OTT content puts significant stress onthe network
because it must traverse internet peering connections, corenetwork infrastructure,
Middle Mile connections, and finally the access network to bedelivered.
An individual subscriber’s request for video content, where auser is highly
utilizing their connection for a long period of time, has acompound effect on
the network as subscribers’ linear-based requests areaggregated, causing
network congestion and sub-optimal quality of experience (QoE).
The traditional approach to address bandwidth growth, reducecongestion,
and ensure customer satisfaction is via incremental networkoverlays and
increased Internet transit capacity. This is effective toaddress bandwidth
requirements, but it’s not efficient from an economic standpointas overlays
drive additional CAPEX and OPEX. Considering that the averagerevenue per
user (ARPU) will stay static (if not diminish with increasedcompetition), this
continued investment fuels a divergence of cost and revenue,leading to less
profitable service offerings.
Secondly, as a subscriber’s internet connection usage grows morebandwidthintensive
with OTT and other sources of video, the experience willdeteriorate.
This is based on time to download and view content as well assystem response
times for control commands (play, pause, etc.). As expectationscontinue to
become more difficult to meet, more service complaints will belogged and
subscriber churn will increase as they move to competitiveservice offerings.
An alternative content delivery approach, that is beneficial toboth service
provider and customer, is needed. This approach will need todeliver content
effectively and efficiently, provide a high QoE for theend-customer, and limit
the service providers’ requirements to augment the network.
Intelligent Content Networking at your service
Intelligent Content Networking is a new approach thatdistributes frequently accessed
content closer to the subscriber, at the edge of the network, to
expedite downloading or streaming and limit the impact ofrepetitive requests
on the entire network. This approach allows for reuse of thelocally cached
content and provides:
â– â– Subscriber value: an improved quality ofexperience. Content is rapidly
accessible and system control requests are reacted to quicklybased on the
content being sourced from a much closer location
â– â– Network Operator value: with a sizeablereduction in the bandwidth
required to serve content over the network and internet transitpoints,
this defers investment in network capex and opex.
How does it work?
Intelligent Content Networking focuses on data sessionsestablished between
Service Provider subscribers and Internet content sources, suchas Web servers,
CDN networks, P2P nodes etc., supporting all of the HTTPservices and P2P
protocols. As shown in Figure 3, applicable content requests areanalyzed
and classified on the basis of file type, and are assessed basedon download
frequency, size of file, last download, etc., to determine theircaching potential.
Frequently requested—popular—media files are held locally,whereas
infrequently or rarely requested files will continue to besourced from farther
back in the network.
For subsequent requests, the content cache will determinewhether the
requested file has been previously stored and determine theintegrity of the
content to ensure that it is valid, up-to-date, and what thesubscriber requested.
If this is the case, it will stream or download the file to therequesting
subscriber(s). By serving the data from the edge of the network,traffic over
transit and peering links is reduced and delivery isaccelerated.
â– â– Flash video services (YouTube, Yahoo Video,MSN Movies)
â– â– Software updates (operating system andanti-virus)
â– â– Peer-to-peer file sharing (music, podcasts,movies)
â– â– HTTP downloads (user manuals, productbrochures)
In addition, the content cache, in conjunction with a networkelement that is
tasked with redirection of user’s requests for cacheablecontent, will let other
forms of traffic bypass this redirection point.
Are there Concerns for Copyright Infringement?
Content delivery can be fraught with legal complexity; howeverthe Digital
Millennium Copyright Act—USA (DMCA) and other similar documentswere
authored to recognize caching of P2P and HTTP-streaming contentfor the
purpose of network efficiency and without modification as legaland protected
by law. Similar documents in the European Union (EU) alsoprovide guidance,
acknowledge the requirement, and protect network operators fromliability
for routing, caching and hosting 3rd party content.
The transparent caching strategy used within Intelligent ContentNetworking is
fully compliant with the procedural “safe harbor” requirementsof these legal
acts. A transparent caching strategy works by intercepting thenetwork traffic
transparently to the browser. It short-circuits the retrievalprocess of the desired
file if it is in the cache. Transparent caches are especiallyuseful to service
providers because they require no browser setup modification.
Figure 4: Synopsis of the Digital MillenniumCopyright Act (USA)
The transparent caching approach provides several distinctadvantages relative
to proxy-based solutions where requests are terminated at theproxy cache and
web servers are not aware of the request.
â– â– With a proxy cache the web server loses allvisibility to content requests
or webpage hits
â– â– Connections from a proxy cache will appearto originate from its IP address,
leading to inaccurate utilization and popularity metrics (ie:YouTube video
â– â– Proxy-based caching methodologies cannotalways guarantee if content
is current or not
Based on these points, a proxy-based strategy could beconsidered in violation
of the DMCA where “The provider must not interfere with thetechnology that
returns ‘hit’ information to the person who posted the material”and “the provider
must comply with rules about ‘refreshing’ material—replacingretained
copies of material with material from the original location—whenspecified
in accordance with a generally accepted industry standard dataprotocol.”
What’s the Value?
Intelligent Content Networking reduces the strain on the entirenetwork
by serving a broad range of popular, frequently accessed contentcloser
to the subscriber.
Alleviating network congestion and propagation delay associatedwith delivering
requested content to the subscriber means content is viewablefaster, and
without interruption—in some cases subscriber response time is7x faster!
In many cases the investment in Intelligent Content Networkingcan be easily
justified on an ROI basis against saved OPEX and CAPEX thatwould have been
required previously to augment network capacity. ServiceProviders are finding
that up to 70% of content is cacheable, and bandwidth savingsrealized are
Intelligent Content Networking frees up bandwidth to deliverother services,
such as VoIP and video conferencing more effectively. Thequality of these
offerings is higher as they are no longer contending with asmuch OTT content
transiting the network concurrently. They also provideincremental, “value
added services” revenue streams that compliment internet accessservices.
As Service Providers are providing improved QoE to theircustomers, Intelligent
Content Networking approaches are opening up opportunities toincrease ARPU
by providing tiered services and partnering with OTT contentproviders
to jointly offer enhanced service offerings.
Operators and Users Win with Intelligent Content Networking
Why BTI Systems?
BTI Systems understands networks. For over 10 years we’ve beensupporting
a diverse range of networks within service provider, utility,web and cloud service
operators, and enterprise environments. We have the expertise todeliver
mission critical information, communications, and content andare relied upon
by over 250 customers globally.
The BTI portfolio has evolved to a best-in-breed packet opticalnetwork
foundation offering optical service delivery, and a completelyintegrated Carrier
Ethernet packet services layer. Our focus on enablingcontent-optimized
solutions is a natural evolution complementary to our existingcapabilities and
ensures our customer’s networks continue to evolve to addressnew application
and service requirements.
WidecastTM, is BTI’s edge-based Intelligent ContentNetworking solution.
It’s a blade server and storage platform focused onnetwork-based content
serving and distribution that is tightly integrated with BTI’spacket services
layer. Widecast positions key network functionality and contentat the fibered
network edge—at the head end of the access network or literallyat the
subscriber’s “front door” to effectively address OTT requestswith network
efficiency, operational savings, and a high quality of experience.
BTI optimizes Intelligent Content Networking for the edge of thenetwork with
our focus on fundamental principles when architecting networksolutions:
efficient service delivery, low power, compact form factor, andsimplified
management and operations.
Intelligent Content Networking from BTI—a WIN/WIN Solution
The key to addressing critical network requirements as we enterthe era of
Hyperconnectivity is to use an innovative approach for contentdelivery; with
Intelligent Content Networking solutions, BTI provides a WIN/WINfor service
providers and subscribers.
The service providers’ high-speed internet services mustleverage an efficient
service delivery infrastructure to address high-bandwidthsubscriber requests
for content and information. An Intelligent Content Networkingapproach
defers metro network build outs and reduces internet transitcosts through
a more effective content delivery model, using content cachingtechnology
tightly integrated with a packet optical networking solution.
The consumer demand for content is growing at an unprecedentedrate and
with it is the expectation that content will be readilyavailable, timely in delivery,
and easy to control. An Intelligent Content Networking approachprovides
an “at the front door” delivery model for popular content andensures sufficient
bandwidth to deliver longtail content, and other communicationsservices, over
the same Internet pipe effectively; providing an improvedquality of experience
for the subscriber.