The internet has become an integral part of our lives, and with the increased use and evolution of the web, the demand for online content has grown significantly. However, the internet’s infrastructure is not always able to cope with this demand, resulting in slow performance and availability problems. To solve these problems, Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) were created.
The CDNs are a network of servers spread globally that store static content such as images, videos and audio files. When a user accesses a website that uses a CDN, the server closest to the user provides the content instead of the website’s origin server. This results in a reduction in page load times and significantly improves the user experience.
As well as improving our user experience, they also offer environmental benefits. By reducing the distance that content needs to travel, CDNs reduce the amount of energy needed to transmit data over the internet. This makes the internet more energy-efficient, which is important in an increasingly sustainability-conscious world.
Evolution of the Web and the CDN
If you compare today’s Internet with that of 20 years ago, you’ll find that they are two completely different environments. Although it was already multimedia, content at the beginning of the 21st century was dominated by text, illustrated with images whose files were as small as possible and – rarely – some sound effects. There was very little relevant audio or video content. The reason for so much data savings was the lack of bandwidth for it to travel. Large companies could even count on a connection of 1 to 2 Mbps, but the overwhelming majority of Brazilian homes and businesses had speeds of no more than 64Kbps.
Today, the web is the exact opposite of the early 2000s: there is a dominance of streams of all kinds, and an insatiable demand for more and more bandwidth. In 2022 alone, the bandwidth consumed by the Internet in the world grew by 28%, reaching 997Tbps (terabits per second), marking an average annual growth of 29%. At this rate, the statistics for 2024 will already have to be declared in Petabits per second.
This growth was initially driven by a single item: quality content, such as video streams. Quality in this case means ever lower latency and ever higher definition, providing the user with a generally impeccable experience. This demand was a milestone in the evolution of the web.
But what has increased the demand for bandwidth?
At the moment, there are at least three items that have increased the pressure on bandwidth demand. Firstly, traditional content, in the form of audio and especially video in ever higher resolution (4K and 8K for starters), among which pay-TV services stand out. Secondly, immersive and interactive technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR), which give rise to the Metaverse, are becoming increasingly popular. And thirdly, all the applications and innovations that are now coming with 5G technology.
So that data doesn’t have to cross half the planet to reach your screen – with all the problems that distances pose (delays, echo, noise and other interference) – it is delivered by specialized infrastructures: content delivery networks (CDNs). These networks are made up of servers – called points of presence – installed in locations closer to the user than the origin servers. In other words: if you’re viewing content on Facebook, it didn’t come directly from a server in Mountain View, the city where the company’s headquarters are located. It came from a server much closer to you. A server that caches content for even faster delivery.
The future of CDNs and their role in the evolution of the web
CDNs have been fundamental to the evolution of the web, but the future of these networks is uncertain. As the demand for online content continues to grow, CDNs need to adapt to meet our needs.
One of the main trends in the evolution of CDNs is the adoption of emerging technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence. These technologies can help to further optimize content distribution, improving delivery speed and reducing energy consumption.
In addition, CDNs are increasingly becoming a platform for additional services such as security, data analysis and content management. These services help to increase the added value of the CDN and offer new opportunities for your business.
Another important factor in the evolution of the web is the growth in the use of mobile devices. When we access the internet via smartphones, CDNs need to provide optimized performance for mobile devices. This requires the adoption of technologies such as HTTP/2 and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These technologies allow for faster content delivery and a more fluid user experience.
In short, CDNs play a fundamental role in the evolution of the web and will continue to be an essential part of the internet’s infrastructure. As technology evolves and user demands change, they need to adapt to continue to provide fast and reliable performance. Meanwhile, they offer new services and business opportunities.
HugeCDN - a new content delivery experience
These explanations leave no doubt that a large part of the growth in bandwidth around the world is due precisely to the progressive installation and expansion of CDNs. Research by Analytics Market Research shows that by 2027 the CDN market will be worth US$38.7 billion. Between now and then, it will be growing at an annual rate of 15.3%. The study makes a projection for the period from 2020 to 2027, taking as a starting point the estimated turnover for 2019, which was US$11.6 billion. In the meantime, the turnover of the CDN market will simply triple.
It is precisely in this ecosystem of business and technology that Huge Networks announces the launch of its global content distribution network: HugeCDN.
In line with the evolution of the web, it was born favored by a large number of very current features, some of which are worth highlighting: architecture in which content will be delivered faster than in traditional CDNs, due to the longer storage capacity; good practices, such as strategic connectivity hubs, ultra-low latency IP; and also hardware that Huge itself has developed for this purpose, state-of-the-art servers using the new AMD EPYC chips and 100GbE Network Cards.
With these features, HugeCDN is guaranteeing latency of less than 30ms anywhere in the world. In all, there are around 22 points of presence in North America, 38 in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and seven in South America, six of them in Brazil. The solution also offers a trial period, at no cost or commitment, so that you can draw your own conclusions.