Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Apple Building its Own Content Delivery Network

Facts are stubborn things. And the simple fact is that content experiences often require network management or packet prioritization to provide the best experience under conditions of congestion. That is at the heart of the “network neutrality” debate, and one might note what Apple is doing as an example that optimizing packet delivery is a key concern for app providers.

Apple now is doing what Google, Netflix and others have done, namely create delivery infrastructure that optimizes delivery of content to end users. Those content delivery networks are not “best effort.” Instead, the app provider content delivery networks optimize packet flows to eliminate latency.

“An iPhone user who subscribes to Sprint Corp., for instance, might download a song more quickly if Sprint's network links directly to the Apple data center storing that song, rather than channeling the file through a series of middlemen,” a writer for the Wall Street Journal notes.

Apple reportedly is hiring experts with content delivery network experience, especially building in-house content delivery networks, as Netflix itself did.

In 2012, Netflix cut its costs by creating its own delivery network, called Open Connect, instead of buying CDN services from Akamai.

Note the irony: app providers who support network neutrality themselves already optimize their own content. In other words, app providers who already optimize and discriminate between packets want to deny the same capability to ISPs who deliver packets to actual consumer end users.

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