Imagine you’re about to broadcast a live stream for an internal team. It could be a training session for new hires, a lunch and learn with a customer, or an all hands meeting with executives. No matter the reason to go live, the experience has to be stellar.

That’s where an enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) comes in. For businesses that are new to live streaming video content, the right CDN configuration can positively impact your stream and help get your message across.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • What a content delivery network (CDN) is and how it works
  • What an eCDN is and how it works
  • The difference between a CDN and an eCDN
  • 3 reasons to use an eCDN for your your internal comms video

Buckle up! You’re about to become an expert in content delivery.

What is a CDN?

A CDN is simply a network that delivers content — like video — at a user’s request. It makes it faster and easier to load content and promotes a great experience. “Content” might be HTML, images, or (our favorite) video.

To understand how a CDN works, we’ll need to look at two key components:

  1. Edge server. A CDN includes many edge servers distributed across the globe. This ensures users anywhere in the world can experience fast download speeds whether they’re located in Paris, France or Paris, Texas. When users request content, an edge server that is geographically proximal to them delivers the content. Talk about going local!
  2. Cache mechanism. When appropriate, the cache mechanism creates a copy of the original data anytime content is created or updated and pushes the copy to the edge servers. When a user in Paris, France or Paris, Texas requests to view content such as video, the edge server will return the cached content.

    The benefits of a cache mechanism are twofold: they reduce the bandwidth throughput for a better end user experience and reduce the amount of load on the network infrastructure.

So what is an eCDN, then?

Think about your work laptop for a moment. It has pre-configured settings and administrative rules applied. Similarly, the edge servers of your CDN should have the same rules apply for internal communications. Enter: the enterprise content delivery network (eCDN).

An eCDN, like the one used for Vimeo Enterprise, reduces the amount of bandwidth required to stream video by up to 95% on the local area network. This provides employees who are connected to the same network with a quality viewing experience without any interruptions, while driving cost savings from lower bandwidth consumption. 

Vimeo partners with eCDN market-leader Kollective to scale enterprise video communications. Not only does Kollective offset 95% of corporate bandwidth, but customers receive robust analytics on how their network capacity has improved.

How does an eCDN work?

The goal of an eCDN is to maintain the benefits of low latency and fast downloads that are integral to a public CDN. Rather than using dedicated servers like a public CDN, a webRTC-based peer-to-peer protocol uses untapped bandwidth on trusted machines. 

When live streaming, every millisecond counts. That’s why an eCDN leverages the benefit of subnet matching rather than incurring the costly, round-trip time of querying a public DNS. 

eCDNs thrive in fast-paced work environments. No installations, deployments, reconfigurations, or physical infrastructure changes are needed to use an eCDN. For example, Vimeo’s eCDN is unique in that up to 95% of chunks are served by peers, allowing stream delivery to scale in proportion to both the number and geographic diversity of consumers.

Why can’t enterprises use standard CDNs for internal content delivery?

Let’s jump back to something like live streaming a town hall. How you deliver that content is important.

While a CDN (like the one you use to load websites like the New York Times or YouTube) is most suitable for serving public content to end users across the globe, serving internal content to corporate users is a job better suited for an eCDN.

When said users are all trying to access the same network at the same time — and are subject to security and access control measures — standard CDNs do not make the cut. They cause problems for a company because each user is downloading the same stream from an external CDN, resulting in extended buffering of the content employees want to consume.

So how do you create a scalable and secure delivery system for all your awesome video content? Use an eCDN!

CDN vs. eCDN: What’s the difference?

The key difference is that an eCDN is a CDN that specifically uses a peer-to-peer protocol as opposed to publicly accessible servers, maintaining internal controls and security.

3 benefits of using eCDNs for your internal video

So why should you care about peer-to-peer protocols and eCDNs? Let’s check out the most important things businesses should keep in mind when scaling up their internal comms.

1. Quality viewing experience at scale

The peer-to-peer nature of an eCDN reduces the strain on an enterprise’s internal network. This means internal content delivery for your live streamed video can scale on demand, without sacrificing performance or risking unexpected side effects like poor connectivity or high latency.

2. Provides cost-savings from bandwidth consumption

Procurement and budget teams rejoice! Peer-to-peer content delivery reduces the bandwidth required to deliver internal content by routing the majority of connections over the public internet. This helps to reduce your bandwidth costs.

3. Deploys quickly and effortlessly

You don’t need to invest in physical infrastructure. You can leverage what you have — namely the network of trusted machines — to enable the peer-to-peer function.

Wrap up: why content delivery networks matter

The right experience helps users consume and engage with your content. While it might seem scary at first, CDNs are pretty straightforward. They efficiently deliver content to geographically distributed users. eCDNs leverage the principles of a CDN to bring the same user experience with the added benefit of enterprise security and cost-savings.

Next time you’re looking to broadcast an internal meeting, consider all the ways an eCDN can help you deliver video content quickly, efficiently, and with the best user experience in mind.

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