Mobile Device Detection

With mobile device users constituting a rapidly growing share of the online marketplace, online businesses are compelled to provide mobile users a high quality web experience or else fall behind competitors who do. To meet the demand, many companies develop mobile-optimized versions of their websites—or better yet, multiple optimized versions geared toward different mobile device types with differing capabilities. This approach leaves businesses with the challenge of monitoring thousands or millions of incoming HTTP requests, detecting which of them are from mobile devices of various types, and redirecting those requests to the appropriate mobile-optimized version of the company website.

Mobile device detection imposes the technical challenge of maintaining a database of thousands of device types—which grows by dozens each month—along with redirect mappings for each type. Mobile device detection also risks introducing an unacceptable degree of latency into the end user experience, since in conventional implementations the user's HTTP request must transit to the company's origin infrastructure, from which a redirect URL is returned to the user's browser, in turn prompting a second request into the origin infrastructure before site content is finally returned.

Cloud-Based Mobile Device Detection from Akamai

Akamai operates the world's largest and most advanced content distribution network (CDN), using HTTP caching as well as routing, transport, and application layer optimizations to accelerate the delivery of web content to any device, anywhere. Among our services is a cloud-based solution for mobile device detection and redirect.

In the Akamai solution, mobile device detection and redirect is implemented by our CDN server network which reaches to the very edges of the Internet and is within one network hop of 90% of web users worldwide. Akamai maintains up-to-date mobile device databases within our network and implements the request redirect logic, with our clients needing only to do some simple configuring of redirect target information through a service administration portal.

By using the Akamai cloud-based solution for mobile device detection and redirect, our clients:

  • Get to market faster with mobile optimized sites that capitalize on the boom in m-commerce and mobile cloud computing.
  • Eliminate capital expenses and maintenance headaches associated with mobile device detection infrastructure.
  • Reduce latency and provide a better experience for end users, whose browsers receive a redirect URL from a nearby Akamai edge server rather than a far-off origin server.

Mobile Device Detection in a Complete Mobile Optimization Solution

For businesses wanting a comprehensive mobile Internet solution, Akamai offers not only mobile device detection and redirect but also a suite of cloud-based mobile optimization services including:

  • Adaptive image compression
  • Inline front end optimization (FEO)
  • Mobile transport protocol optimization
  • Intelligent web caching of mobile content

We also offer solutions specifically for multimedia content, including streaming video preparation and delivery as well as comprehensive media analytics.

Learn more about Akamai's solutions for mobile device detection and mobile optimization.