What is an eCDN?

eCDN stands for Enterprise Content Delivery Network

It is a technology to optimize data distribution in corporate networks and is mostly used to improve video delivery.

Definition Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN)

An enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) is a content delivery network specially designed for corporate networks.

In corporate networks, data exchange is limited to the bandwidth available and the GBIT connection on site. When a certain application – for example, a live video stream – is hitting the limits of the bandwidth available, an eCDN optimizes the data flow. Therefore, an eCDN enables applications with a high data demand within corporate networks.

eCDN Guide: Everything you need to know

Why do companies need an eCDN?

As an example, in an office building of a large company, several people are working with just as many – or in most cases even more – end devices. Probably, all employees work in a digital environment and are dependent on the proper function of the network and access to the Internet. The network they are accessing respectively is designed for all standard business processes for their daily work. In home office scenarios, people are often still connected to the company network via VPN.

Common networks meet their limits when distributing large amounts of data, such as streaming a live event via video. The unusual data load can either cause the crash of the video stream or – even worse – network congestion, jeopardizing other business-critical processes happening in the background.

Insight: Share of Video in Global Internet Traffic

Insight: By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic.
(Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018–2023))

This number clearly illustrates how much traffic video data occupies. Therefore it is of utmost importance to prepare your corporate network for the increased use of video – and the upcoming traffic.

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With an eCDN in place...

data is distributed more efficiently and does not cause any harm to the network. Read more on how an eCDN works, the different technologies, and use cases on this page.

eCDN Use Cases

Companies use enterprise Content Delivery Networks to distribute large amounts of data within their network.
The most common use case is delivering live and on-demand video data, as sharing video demands much more bandwidth than sharing text or images. Still, there are different applications for an eCDN:

Live video transmission of internal events like digital town hall meetings and corporate events

eLearning sessions for customers, partners, and employees

Delivering (enterprise) webcasts to a large audience

Efficient delivery of live streams for hybrid events like exhibitions and conferences

Roll-out of company-wide software updates

Recognized your use case?

Our eCDN guide covers everything you need to know to evaluate and introduce an eCDN for your business:

The difference between an eCDN and a CDN

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a distribution network of different servers to deliver data fast and efficiently over the Internet. With a CDN, the data that needs to be distributed (or is requested) is first sent from your origin server to the CDN network. From there, it’s duplicated and sent to many different servers. This way, end devices that request your content can access it from a server close to them. As a result, transmission times are reduced, and the origin server does not have to deal with too many requests at once.

Well-known Content Delivery Network providers are:

  • Akamai Technologies
  • Fastly
  • Cloudflare
  • Amazon CloudFront
  • CDNetworks
  • CenturyLink

Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN)

An enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) optimizes content delivery inside a corporate network, not within the public Internet. Therefore an eCDN uses different techniques to distribute data efficiently. The three established forms are caching, multicast or P2P.

Read further on this page to learn about the benefits and different technologies of enterprise Content Delivery Networks (eCDNs).

eCDN & Corporate Video Streaming

Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, eCDN providers have experienced a huge increase in demand from corporations worldwide. The main trigger for this is the sudden popularity of video streaming and conferencing for live events, one-to-one, and one-to-many communication. As most company networks are not designed for this increased usage of live video, they need an eCDN solution to use enterprise video streaming on a large scale.

85% of companies think that online experiences for events are here to stay.

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How data is distributed without an eCDN

ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

As you can see, all end devices in the network directly request the data from the origin server. Not using an eCDN is fine as long as there isn’t too much data to deliver. If too many people access the same content, the entry point into the network gets overloaded, and a bottleneck occurs. This extraordinary strain causes network congestion, and bad video quality may arise.

 

With an eCDN solution, data is distributed more efficiently, avoiding a bandwidth bottleneck at the entry point of the corporate network. Here’s an example of how this works with a P2P eCDN:

How data is distributed without an eCDN

ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

Instead of all devices requesting the content outside the corporate network going through the firewall, you can see that they also share it inside the network. By distributing the content behind the firewall, bottleneck problems vanish, and network traffic is reduced by up to 95%.

Read more in our blog post: Coming back to the office – Challenges & opportunities.

To make it more clear, here’s a calculation about how one live video event can strain your corporate network:

How Video Streaming affects your Network - a Calculation

A person watching a 720p HD video stream (e.g., broadcast of a company event like a town hall meeting, a financial report, or a speech from the management board) occupies a download bandwidth of around 1.7Mbps. Delivering this live stream to two company sites with 3,000 and 7,000 active viewers would lead to a required network bandwidth of 5.1Gbps for the smaller site and 11.9Gbps for the larger site for this video stream alone.
ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

How an eCDN gives you a Competitive Edge

Smooth and high-quality live streaming of corporate events is not achieved by all companies, while its importance is increasing day by day. Those who communicate quickly and efficiently via video streaming have a clear advantage over other companies that fail at this task. An eCDN can be instrumental in further extending this competitive edge, as you can:

Increase employee engagement and transform your digital workplace

By optimizing video traffic and smartly distributing data, there is no limitation of users anymore. This way, you can reach many times more users than without an eCDN solution and possibly other providers.

Deliver high-quality video content at scale

But not only can you reach more employees, but you'll also be able to provide them with the best video quality at the same time. The efficient operation of an eCDN means that all users always receive the best possible video quality, which can significantly impact user satisfaction and company reputation.

Protect your network from overload

Organizing a digital live event shouldn’t scare your IT department and jeopardize other business-relevant processes. Implementing an eCDN solution means protecting your business from network congestion and ensuring a high-quality video stream without buffering or crashing. Now, while your competitors are still thinking of a workaround to organize their virtual events, you’re already used to digital events on a large scale and can focus on your main business.

Benefits of an eCDN

The main purpose of an eCDN is to enable live video streaming in corporate environments by smartly distributing data to avoid network congestion. However, this is not the only advantage an eCDN brings to the table: most eCDNs are flexible in their use cases. eCDN users profit from better video quality, higher viewer satisfaction, or time savings through complete solutions. Here is an overview of the most important benefits of an eCDN (depending on the provider):

Bandwidth reduction for video delivery

Reducing buffering times of the video

High-quality video streaming

Scalability to thousands of users

Minimized latency for live video streams

Making digital events possible even in limited infrastructures

Freeing up bandwidth for other business-relevant processes

How does an eCDN solution work?

The functioning of an eCDN depends on the technical approach they’re using. All common eCDN solutions work with the same idea: they reduce network traffic by distributing the data (e.g. of a video stream) using a software solution and relieving the entry point into the network. Whether live or on-demand, streaming video causes an enormous mass of data to pass through the entry point into the network. This often leads to network congestion. Therefore, the idea of an eCDN is to propagate the data load only after this point of entry. After all, once it reaches the intranet, video data can be easily multiplied without fear of network congestion. All standard eCDN solutions are software-based, but they operate at different points in the intranet. To get a better understanding of how an eCDN works, let’s have a look at the different eCDN technologies:

eCDN Technologies

The eCDN providers in the market rely on three different techniques of distributing data: multicast, caching, or peer-to-peer.
ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

Peer-to-Peer eCDN

In a peer-to-peer eCDN, the devices within the company network are connected via peering groups. It then distributes video content directly between all connected devices that are streaming the video content. As each device streams the same content at the same time, the P2P network lets them share their data, thus saving up to 95% of bandwidth while increasing network reliability.

Peering groups and connections consist of close users within the network (e.g., being in the same subnet); therefore, content doesn’t have to cover a huge distance and is allocated near the viewers.

A peer-to-peer eCDN involves the viewers in the video delivery process. Therefore, it gets even more efficient when more users are in the network and contribute to the video data sharing process. This makes it perfect for large-scale video delivery in change-resistant infrastructures with limited bandwidth.

ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

Multicast eCDN

A Multicast eCDN uses the multicast communication protocol to efficiently send large amounts of data (e.g., a video stream) simultaneously to several end devices. The multicast communication protocol is designed to reduce network traffic for one-to-many or many-to-many communication. In contrast to unicast, where one data file – or in our use case, the video stream – is send to each single end device separately, multicast distributes the video stream simultaneously. With multicast delivery, the origin server sends the stream or data file once to a multicast address, distributing packets to all recipients in the multicast network. This way, network traffic is significantly reduced as devices no longer separately request and pull an independent stream from the origin server.

Using multicast to optimize enterprise video delivery is a solid solution if the network is multicast-enabled or for streaming to large, densely located audiences.

Click here to read more about multicast eCDN, its benefits, and use cases:

ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

eCDN with Video Caching

When using a Video Caching eCDN, video data is stored in caching servers, delivering the video to the viewers. An eCDN that works on video caching places several local caching servers on each office location, enterprise network, or subnetwork.

When people within the intranet request the stream or video data, the local cache is checked first before contacting the origin server. If available, the viewer then receives the data directly from the local cache. This significantly reduces the video’s buffering time and latency as it is stored close to the viewers.

More about video caching, its benefits, and use cases:

Comparison of eCDN Technologies

FeatureMulticastPeer-to-PeerVideo Caching
Streaming ApplicationsLive StreamingLive Streaming & VoDLive Streaming & VoD
Bandwidth ReductionYesYesYes
ScalabilityWithin location, unlimitedUnlimitedLimited, linear relation between resources and offloading
InfrastructureHardware / infrastructure update necessaryNo client or plugin installation, WebRTC-basedInfrastructure update necessary
Location LimitsTechnology is limited to the office siteOver regional solution that can be used by decentralized companiesOver regional solution that can be used by decentralized companies

eCDN Technologies: Use Cases

ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

Multicast

The idea to multiply the live streamed content from one network point to many, using a multicast sender, is the ideal solution for large, locally-dense enterprises in matters of live streaming. 

ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

Peer-to-Peer

The ideal solution for enterprises with varying use cases or occasions that may arise ad-hoc is a peer-to-peer network. It works over regional and without the need for extra hardware.

ecdn, What is an eCDN? The ultimate guide

Video Caching

When video on-demand is the more crucial matter, content caching can be the ideal solution to maximize scalability while reducing the network and bandwidth requirements over regional.

Combinations of eCDN technologies

Since every network and company is unique in its topology, infrastructure, and policies, you may need more than one eCDN technology. Some networks are limited in the infrastructure; for example, they are not multicast-enabled, or the company’s policies restrict any further installations like caching servers.

You could use a video cache in locations where you have many employees (or if you have a multicast-enabled network, a multicast eCDN). Then, in locations where you have limited infrastructure, you can utilize P2P eCDN technology. In a hybrid scenario, you might use multicast in locations with large numbers of employees and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) technology, in your smaller locations. P2P is a great solution to optimize video streams at locations with limited infrastructure.

How to choose an eCDN provider

Operational Topics: Does the eCDN solution fit your business and needs?

Do you need an eCDN solution for single events or regular optimization of video delivery?

Which format needs optimization? (live-streaming, video-on-demand, or both)

Which types of devices are watching the video content?

How many office sites do you need to cover?

Does the eCDN provider work with your current EVP (enterprise video platform) or webcasting platform? Is there already an integration partnership?

What is your budget?

Do you want to resell the eCDN solution to your clients and need to configure different projects?

Technical Requirements: Does the eCDN solution solve your needs and work with your setup?

Does your IT department have the resources to cover the design, implementation, and management of the eCDN solution?

Or do you need an all-in-one service and support package?

Is the eCDN provider able to deploy across large and complex enterprise networks?

Which kind of browsers are supported by the eCDN vendor?

Are you allowed to deploy hosted software solutions?

What is the capacity of your network for all traffic, including video streams?

How likely are you willing to change your network settings? Or can’t you make any changes at all?

Do you already have caching appliances in place that support video streaming?

Do you require the visualization and troubleshooting of individual viewer streaming experiences and events?

Is the eCDN provider able to detect different subnets within your network and optimize video delivery accordingly?

Security Policies: Get an eCDN solution that meets your companies guidelines

Is the video data shared encrypted?

Is the eCDN solution compliant with GDPR?

Is the solution only available via the cloud or also on-premise?

Is the eCDN solution capable of running within a complex multi-Virtual Machine (VM) service?

Does the eCDN provider support redundancy, scalability, and load-balancing?

Do you want to allow third parties to manage applications hosted within your environment?

Does the eCDN solution work with your VPN policies?

Platforms that support eCDN

Most EVPs and webcasting providers recognized the rising demand for highly scalable enterprise video solutions. Especially large corporate customers want to use the platform to stream their digital town hall meetings, annual kick-offs, or elearning events to thousands of employees – and therefore need an eCDN solution to handle the traffic in their network.

Among others, the following Enterprise Video Platforms & webcasting providers already work together with eCDN providers to offer the best video quality for large live events without crashing their customers’ network:

Want to see your business can profit from an eCDN?

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