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

Thick forest

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. Therefore, your ability to see past the entrances is almost impossible. Running out of time, you have to decide which road will get you to a gas station the fastest using an old submarine sonar that your grandfather gave you from his days in the navy. Of course, using a sonar could only give you an idea of which gas station is the closest but cannot tell you of any potential obstacles, such as traffic, road damage, or even the gas station with the least amount of customers, which can delay receiving gasoline. If you think the solution in this scenario for finding a gas station sounds ridiculous, you are not alone, however, this is  similar to what is currently happening across the internet as content is being delivered to the user.

Measuring the network with a ping is like measuring your distance to a gas station with a sonar.

Like our scenario above, the delivery of content (the gasoline) between a requester (you) and many available content sources (the gas stations) over the network can be a difficult and disorganized journey due to vision gaps (the forest). These vision gaps prevent the content from choosing the best possible path, thus causing a longer travel time and a slower internet service for the user. Of course, if you could only see past these vision gaps, then you could figure out which path will get you to your destination the fastest. Unfortunately, the market today provides inefficient and outdated technology for making these measurements. That leads us to the role of grandpa’s old sonar.  Currently, many content delivery networks rely on a network-measuring tool known as a ping. Like a sonar, the ping operates by sending an echo request to a content host in order to measure the distance between them based on how long it takes the request to come back. The response will ultimately make a ping when it has returned, hence the name. The ping measurement, however, has been the measurement of choice since the 1980s and is now unfit for the already large and continuously growing network. Not only do the circumstances of the paths change within milliseconds causing the ping’s information to already be outdated when it returns, but studies show it is hard to determine how accurate the ping measurement actually is. Just like how you wouldn’t find grandpa’s sonar to be the best tool when looking for the fastest path to the gas station, the ping is not the best tool to measure network traffic.

At BENOCS, we provide the GPS system.

Now imagine that, instead of using your grandfather’s sonar, you had a GPS system tracked by satellite. Your device could not only show you which gas station is the closest, but also advise you on which path has the least obstacles and the shortest wait time, therefore getting your car fueled as fast as possible. At BENOCS, our products do just that. We explore the vision gaps using information already provided by traffic generators and operators (the satellite) within the network in order to show the content delivery network the best possible path to the server, thus providing customers with the best possible quality of experience. So get rid of that old sonar and start seeing past the vision gaps!

Tune in next time where we will explain what information inside the network BENOCS gleans as to equip our “GPS for the internet” with the right map material.

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