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.
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.
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:
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
eCDN & Corporate Video Streaming
85% of companies think that online experiences for events are here to stay.
How data is distributed without an eCDN
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
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
How an eCDN gives you a Competitive Edge
Benefits of an eCDN
How does an eCDN solution work?
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.
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 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
|Streaming Applications||Live Streaming||Live Streaming & VoD||Live Streaming & VoD|
|Scalability||Within location, unlimited||Unlimited||Limited, linear relation between resources and offloading|
|Infrastructure||Hardware / infrastructure update necessary||No client or plugin installation, WebRTC-based||Infrastructure update necessary|
|Location Limits||Technology is limited to the office site||Over regional solution that can be used by decentralized companies||Over regional solution that can be used by decentralized companies|
eCDN Technologies: Use Cases
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.
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.
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?
Technical Requirements: Does the eCDN solution solve your needs and work with your setup?
Security Policies: Get an eCDN solution that meets your companies guidelines
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: