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Akamai improves data delivery with FastTCP

Mon, 09/16/2013 - 1:30pm
Brian Santo

Akamai Technologies said it has deployed FastTCP broadly across its network, the Akamai Intelligent Platform, improving the delivery of IP content on behalf of its clients, notably including over-the-top distributors of video.

FastTCP optimizes the throughput of video and other digital content across IP networks. Akamai picked up the technology with its 2012 acquisition of FastSoft.

FastTCP algorithms are deployed within Akamai edge servers and do not require any software installation on user devices or any action on the part of Akamai’s customers or their site visitors.

The algorithms are designed to improve the Internet’s standard Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) performance for high packet loss or high latency network connections. The resulting improvements in streaming media bitrates and reduced file download time help provide an enhanced, higher-quality user experience to Akamai’s worldwide base of Sola Media customers.

The capability is now a fundamental characteristic of the network. Actual average throughput measurements collected from sample regional networks more than a week before and after the FastTCP network upgrade indicated significant improvements in select customer and end user instances, ranging from 8 percent in Japan to 105 percent in China, with both North America and Europe enjoying 15 percent to 22 percent increases, the company said.

In addition, rebuffering improvements in excess of 40 percent were observed in sampled networks in the U.S., India, and Europe. These improvements have dramatically reduced the number of times a video stream delivered by Akamai pauses or stalls, which has been shown to increase viewer retention rates, the company said.

While the FastTCP technology deployment is designed to improve throughput for most of Akamai’s delivery services, the Sola Sphere content delivery solution has enjoyed the most dramatic improvements, the company said. Sola Sphere delivery solutions support HTTP-based on-demand and live streaming, as well as large file downloads of software objects such as multi-megabyte music files and apps, and multi-gigabyte Ultra-HD/4K video content.

Bill Wheaton, senior vice president and general manager, Media Products Division, Akamai, said, “The improved results have been especially noticeable in regions where network connectivity are frequently less than ideal; suddenly, larger numbers of end users in those areas have begun enjoying a markedly improved quality of experience that required no intervention by the customer.”

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