The future of Internet and CDN technology: the latest predictions

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It’s not a secret that the modern Internet is being influenced by such giants of the tech world as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Today, the majority of global Internet traffic is already being transferred through private networks, and CDN (content delivery networks) also comprise those. According to Cisco’s annual forecast of Internet traffic trends, in a few years, this proportion is said to increase to over 70%.

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CDN networks serve to boost user experience by accelerating transfer of online media, especially video streams and broadcasting. Although this technology is not new, it may have a great impact on the Internet simply due to the amount of traffic it’s used to handle. Such networks are often preferred by third-party telecommunication companies that deal with enterprises, for instance, Akamai and Limelight. Rising popularity of video streaming triggered massive investment from consumer-facing companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix. This growing proportion of traffic over CDNs has resulted into such phenomenon as “flattening” of the Net.

CDNs are expected to dominate in some particular areas, especially wealthy ones. These include Western Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific. The same mentioned report made by Cisco states that about 91% of Internet traffic in America will be transferred via CDN by 2021, while it’ll be only 31% in Africa and the Middle East.

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Internet traffic flow over CDNs in 2021

Top dogs like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google keep increasing investment into their own CDNs to serve content for their users. Cisco also predicts that the proportion of traffic via these giant networks will also be more tremendous in wealthier regions. About 60% of traffic will be served via private CDNs. A case in point is a CDN set up by Netflix in North America by 2021. This year, only 10% of traffic in Africa and Middle East are transferred over a private CDN.

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Internet traffic flow over private CDNs by 2021

What can’t be denied is that users served by CDNs have much better experience: they enjoy lag-free gaming, smooth and high-quality video streaming, movies without buffering, and so on. Every mile that video content has to travel degrades the quality of files and hurts user experience.

Does it mean that the lag of CDN services in some certain areas makes up for a new digital divide? Not likely. Just like any other Internet service, CDN will gradually become cheaper and more affordable for less wealthy countries, and with a growing demand for it, we will see further investment.

Vadim Kolchev

52 publications

Vadim has graduated from Moscow Institute of Entrepreneurship and Law as finance and credit specialist. Prior to starting to work in hosting business directly, he occupied various roles in several companies, including but not limited to banking sphere and sports. As of 2015 he works for INXY Holding, with SpaceCDN being a vital part of the hosting branch of its business. Being tech enthusiast, he has started writing articles about dedicated servers, CDN, storage solutions and other hosting services long ago, and since then accumulated a lot of experience and knowledge in the field. Building hosting sales and support departments from scratch has added even more experience and knowledge and allowed to see the business from the inside and build required expertise. Now Vadim is CPO and COO of a successful hosting business. Having several important interviews and publications at platforms such as Hosting Journalist and Forbes, he continues to share knowledge about this branch of technology that has become not only his job but also a passion.

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