LACNIC 39 | Operators Must Prepare for Live Streaming


LACNIC 39 | Operators Must Prepare for Live Streaming

By Efrén Páez Jiménez for DPL News

Mérida, Yucatán.- Video streaming has become one of the primary traffic generators for telecommunications networks. However, during the Peering Forum co-located withLACNIC 39, industry experts agreed that not all video traffic is equal. The transmission of live events places additional strain on these networks, and this can be solved through interconnection agreements with IXPs and CDNs.

Flavio Luciani, CTO of Namex, an IXP based in Rome, noted that the sector is undergoing a major digital transformation, transitioning from the distribution of live events via satellite to the distribution of live content through Internet networks, a shift that will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the ecosystem and infrastructure.

In Italy, DAZN has emerged as one of the leading providers of sporting events via streaming by securing the rights to broadcast Serie A football matches, while Amazon Prime Video has successfully acquired the broadcasting rights for the UEFA Champions League. Additionally, other live streaming services such as Twitch allow streamers to reach a significant number of subscribers during sports seasons.

According to a study conducted by Namex among Italian service providers, 60 percent of the respondents reported an increase in traffic during the broadcast of football matches, while 40 percent indicated that traffic experiences a significant increase and, in some cases, even doubles.Particularly, major operators experience up to a 30 percent increase in traffic during events with a large audience.

One of the main challenges of this transition is that traffic tends to grow significantly during certain periods, leaving operators at a crossroads, debating whether to invest in greater capacity at the risk of it being underutilized during the rest of the year or exploring other options, such  as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) or the connection to Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).

Luciani pointed out that this transition is especially complex for smaller operators, who have handled this surge in traffic by resorting to IXPs, whereas larger operators can manage the traffic through their own networks by installing a proprietary DAZN cache.

Furthermore, he added that as the supply and demand for live events continues to rise, there will be an even more significant impact on Internet traffic. This impact will not only affect operators, but also users, who may experience weak signals, instability, or poor video quality.

Alejandro Guzmán, Vice President Global Network Infrastructure at Fastly, reported that national sporting events, such as the Super Bowl in the United States or the cricket cup in India, generate unpredictable traffic. This makes it very difficult to plan capacity, as the behavior, concentration, and peak levels of this traffic are uncertain.

In this sense, he explained that service providers can establish links with CDNs such as Fastly which can help them to deal with the volatility of this type of traffic and which also allow them to gradually scale up their capacity as the demand for sporting events increases.

The importance of IXPs and traffic exchange

Industry representatives present at the Peering Forum stressed that installing IXPs and entering into peering agreements would allow better management of growing Internet traffic and improve the quality of services for consumers.

Peering refers to the voluntary interconnection between networks to exchange traffic directly, without the need to purchase transit services. This can be achieved through an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) or via direct connections when the volume of traffic exchanged between peers is very high.

In this regard, Salvador Bertenbreiter, CEO of PIT Colombia, explained the importance of peering agreements among service providers, IXPs, or CDNs, as they would have a positive impact on Colombian networks, reducing the cost per gigabit, improving latency for certain services, and decentralizing Internet traffic.

For instance, traffic in Cartagena would no longer have to primarily be served from the United States, as is currently the case. Instead, it could be handled through peering agreements for exchanging traffic locally, which would increase national bandwidth and significantly reduce the costs associated with IP transit.

Bertenbreiter stressed that he established PIT to facilitate the signing of these agreements between different parties, with the proposal to create connection hubs that will cater to smaller providers while also being useful to larger operators.

One of the company’s primary Internet exchange points is Bogotá, where it has presence in three datacenters, and expects to have more than 10 PoPs (Edge Points of Presence) by the end of the year. It offers port capacities of 10G, 40G, 100G, and even 400G, and it supports IPv4 and IPv6.

During the panel titled Peering and Interconnection Ecosystem in Mexico, representatives of companies such as Netflix and Arelion also emphasized the importance of having IXPs in Mexico to encourage knowledge sharing and traffic exchange within the country. However, they also noted that there is still a need to educate operators on what an IXP does and the advantages of interconnecting with an IXP.

*Article originally published in  DPL News

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