Trade Group Develops Standards for Faster Web Video
Moving with speed unprecedented for a telecom standards group, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) Cloud Services Forum is preparing to publish a set of requirements that enable ISPs to deliver over-the-top (OTT) Internet video traffic more efficiently, using local interconnections.
The new Content Delivery Network (CDN) interconnect requirements and use cases will be published within the next week or two, only a little more than three months after the ATIS CSF began meeting. (See ATIS Debuts Cloud Services Forum.)
That speed reflects the growing concern of large operators over the amount of network resources being consumed by OTT video, says Andrew White of Nokia Networks , the CSF chairman. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was a champion of this work.
"I've talked with a couple of CTOs over the last few months and really the numbers are between 40 percent and 50 percent of peak hour traffic on the consumer side is driven by Netflix alone, and if you look at video as a whole it is higher than that," White says. "What you are talking about is a very quick, very fast growth of video traffic on the Internet."
Today, a request from a consumer on one carrier network seeking to view video content hosted on another carrier network consumes bandwidth on the networks of both, plus at a peering point. The new CDN interconnection standards will enable the video-hosting ISP to recognize a request for video and allow it to be delivered via a CDN location that is closer to the consumer, and potentially even locally sited, to reduce core and backhaul network consumption.
"Today the CDN environment really operates at the application level, so there isn't necessarily concern about what network resources are consumed in the delivery of that video," White says. The interconnection of CDNs will allow service providers to hand off requests to the most local site from which a video can be delivered, using out-of-band messaging.
The process will work similarly to least-cost routing of voice calls, White says, and the ISPs and CDN operators involved will work out the business arrangements for compensation of the party operating the local CDN node.
Getting final comments and publishing the requirements and use cases is phase one of implementation. Phase two will be looking at how the requirements and use cases will be implemented, and that also is expected to happen on an accelerated timetable.
In that phase, the ATIS CSF will be spelling out the specific message sets and protocols involved in CDN interconnection, White says. More than likely, the protocol involved will be an existing protocol, not a new one.
"CDNs exist today in vertical silos," White says. "The Cloud Services Forum is very focused on the network-to-network interface that exists between two CDN providers and what information do they have to share in order to interoperate."
The CSF has about 14 members today, with more companies expected to join, says Yvonne Reigle, ATIS Director of Standards. The group was announced in February and got to work in March.
There is potential for this to become a global standard, but once it is formally published by ATIS, it can be used by North American service providers who are working with global partners, White says. — Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading