What are self-operated Meta CDNs, and should ISPs be concerned?

General, ISP-CDN cooperation, Research findings

The information in this post comes from the paper “Dissecting Apple’s Meta-CDN during an iOS update.” To read the full study, please click here.

Before 2014, Apple – one of the largest content generators on the web today – relied on external content delivery networks (CDNs), such as Akamai and Level 3, to deliver everything from music/video streaming to iOS updates.  In 2014, Apple released their CDN as an effort to take control over the quality of their content delivery as well as creating the final puzzle piece that gives them control over the entire customer experience (hardware, online platforms, ect.). Interestingly enough, as Dan Rayburn predicted, Apple was in no hurry to convert all of their traffic to their own CDN and would still need some time before they completely stopped offloading traffic onto third-party CDNs. Continue reading

Why geolocation is important for enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation and other privacy policies

General, Research findings

The information in this post comes from the paper “Tracing Cross Border Web Tracking.” To read the full study, please click here.

If you are living in Europe or doing business with European companies, you are probably already familiar with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has been in effect since May 2018. However, what you may not know is how this law is actually administered. After all, a law is only as good as its ability to be enforced. Given that internet content is shared globally, how can anyone ensure those within the European Union (EU) borders are actually protected by this law, especially when content needs to travel across borders? How do we know if data is just passing through, or if it is terminating in Europe? What can be used as evidence of violations? The answer: geolocation and tracking flows. Continue reading

Episode 5: Vision Gaps: How to overcome them by evolving towards ISP-CDN interplay

General, ISP-CDN cooperation, Network, Visibility

In the previous episodes, we mentioned that the internet demand is continuously growing, and the network infrastructure is no longer able to efficiently support the heavy traffic without costly upgrades and extensions. So far, we discussed the tools currently being used to support content delivery, why we think they are no longer efficient, and the solutions we can provide to help the network operate better. However, what we have not yet answered is why. Why has the network evolved this way if it is inefficient? To answer that, let us have look at some of the internet’s history to determine the aspects that made it this way, what challenges it faces from the outcome, and how Benocs fits into this timeline. Continue reading

Episode 4: Vision Gaps: How BENOCS tackles the delivery of different types of content

General, ISP-CDN cooperation, Visibility

In the previous episodes, we explored the different approaches currently implemented into the network in order to keep up with the increasing customer demands and the delivery of content across the internet. Although they are currently capable of sustaining the higher demands and expectations, their systems are not efficient and require frequent and costly infrastructure updates to manage future congestion. At BENOCS, we introduce a new way of managing internet traffic by collecting and sharing information that is already available on the network in order to balance the system and to facilitate the best and fastest delivery speeds for all types of content such as transaction/clicks and video streaming. Each of these particular types of content have special needs in terms of delivery, in which BENOCS’s unique system can optimize all of their performances. In order to understand the significance, let us now return to our pizza scenario to see what types of issues the stores could face, and how delivery services could be improved with real-time traffic reports for the best performance and customer satisfaction. Continue reading

Episode 3: Vision Gaps: One step closer with ECS

General, ISP-CDN cooperation, Network, Visibility

In the previous episodes, we took you on an “internet road trip” to help explicate some of the issues concerning content delivery across the network. However, the network does not work with such efficiency and simplicity as we have previously alluded. In fact, our previous metaphors are still missing some important features that are used in this process. As an attempt to complete the full picture, let us return to our pizza hotline, but this time include the Extended DNS Client Sub-net (ECS). For the explanation of DNS indirection, we imagined that the pizza hotline had to guess where you were, based on the information they had: you are in a hotel. Well this time, let’s say you provided an address, or for the sake of the internet, we implement the ECS. With an address, the hotline operator could look up your location and pizza store proximity on a map in order to choose which store is closer and, theoretically, ensure the fastest delivery time. Continue reading

Episode 2: Vision Gaps Deep Dive: DNS Indirection

General, ISP-CDN cooperation, Network, Visibility

After a long and stressful day of driving (almost stranded in the middle of nowhere without gas), you finally arrive to your destination tired and hungry. While scouring through the local phone book located in your hotel room’s desk drawer, you stumble upon an advertisement for a pizza delivery chain with three locations nearby. You decided to call their call center and order the largest pizza available. After placing the order, the person asks, as expected, your location. You provide them with the address of your hotel. With this information, the call center is then able to forward your order to the pizza store closest to you, ensuring that you will receive your pizza in the shortest amount of time and still hot on arrival. How is the pizza hotline able to provide such seemingly effortless service to prevent you from collapsing of hunger? It’s easy. With your address, they are able to look up your exact location.

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Episode 1: Vision Gaps: How to see through the internet forest

General, ISP-CDN cooperation, Network, Visibility

Imagine that you are on a road trip almost exactly half way to your destination. You are at that part where it is simply you, the road, and the beautiful landscape that seems to go on for forever. This should be a relaxing and enjoyable drive, but instead you become frantic having just learned your car is about to run out of gas. With only a few minutes left until you are  stranded in the middle of nowhere, unfamiliar with your surroundings, you come to a fork in the road with three possible paths. Each path has a sign for a gas station, however, the distance and potential road obstacles are unclear considering each road leads directly into a luscious forest. Continue reading

Network analytics will play a key role for future networks

General, Network, Research findings

In just a few years’ time, the Internet has changed significantly. Starting as a hierarchical Tier-1, Tier-2 and Tier-3 topology, it is evolving more and more towards a mashup of directly interconnected networks, thus increasing its complexity both physically and logically. Driven by higher quality demands and lower transit network cost, content providers have been working on increasing the content to user speed by shortening the path, which positions the content as close to the consumer as possible. Content delivery networks (CDNs) started to develop enhanced algorithms to choose the “best” – or at least a better path – to the user in order to make the connection faster. Continue reading

Overcoming today’s network visibility limits

ISP-CDN cooperation, Network, Technology, Visibility

In times of rapidly increasing internet traffic, it is becoming important for internet service providers (ISP) to seek more visibility and control over how and where content is entering its network, and how this can affect the user’s quality of experience. Content delivery is still a blind flight, but how can you equip for the future when you do not know your demand as well as how it affects your network assets? Instead of facing rising infrastructure costs, let us help you get over the “best effort” principle and make content delivery and Quality of Experience (QoE) for your end users great.

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