A content distribution network—also known as a content delivery network—is a large, geographically distributed network of specialized servers that accelerate the delivery of web content and rich media to internet-connected devices. The world's largest content distribution network, owned and operated by Akamai, spans more than 216,000 servers in over 120 countries and within more than 1,500 networks around the world.
The primary technique that a content distribution network (CDN) uses to speed the delivery of web content to end users is edge caching, which entails storing replicas of static text, image, audio, and video content in multiple servers around the "edges" of the internet, so that user requests can be served by a nearby edge server rather than by a far-off origin server. To also accelerate the delivery of dynamically generated web content that's difficult or impossible to cache, an advanced content distribution network such as Akamai's uses a range of techniques such as: route optimization, TCP connection optimization, and pre-fetching.
Content Distribution Network Benefits
A content distribution network provides substantial benefits to web users, content and application owners, and network service providers:
- For users: Users of websites and web applications delivered through a CDN experience faster page loads and faster transactions than they would in the absence of the CDN.
- For content owners: For content and application owners such as ecommerce sites, media properties, and cloud computing companies, using a content distribution network to improve end users' experience can lower abandonment rates, increase ad impressions, improve conversion rates, and strengthen customer loyalty. Using a CDN can also make an important contribution to web security, for instance by helping to absorb and mitigate a denial of service attack.
- For network service providers: With the explosive growth of online streaming and other rich media services, and higher user expectations about web performance across multiple device types, today's network service providers are finding it necessary to deploy their own content distribution networks. For network operators, deploying a CDN can reduce subscriber churn, facilitate the development of value-added services, reduce traffic on the core network, and enable operators to sell CDN services to enterprises and third-party content owners.
Akamai Empowers Operators to Deploy Their Own Content Distribution Network
As the creator of the world's premier content distribution network—which today delivers up to 30% of global internet traffic—Akamai has been the leader in bringing CDN benefits to web property owners and web users. With Network Operator Solutions, we're also enabling network service providers to benefit by deploying their own CDNs. For example:
- Licensed Operator CDN Solutions is a software suite that enables operators to cost-effectively build out their own CDNs using clustered commodity hardware.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Operator CDN Solutions eliminate up-front capital expenditures and speeds time-to-market by enabling operators to deploy their own content distribution network on dedicated cloud servers managed by Akamai.
Learn more about Operator CDN Solutions from Akamai.