CDN Load Balancer Now Provides Real-time CDN Switching for Android and Apple Devices

Video content consumption is growing on every continent and every type of device, with mobile platforms getting more market share every year. From Q2 2019 to Q2 2020, global video consumption increased by 63% overall across connected TV devices, tablets, gaming consoles, mobile phones, and – most of all – smart TVs, which had an astounding 239% year-over-year growth.[1]

That’s why Lumen is proud to announce that CDN Load Balancer is now available on mobile devices, as well as Android and iOS-based set-top boxes. This new version of CDN Load Balancer includes integrations for Android phones and Android TV, Amazon Fire TV devices, as well as iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV.

This latest CDN Load Balancer release is part of a large-scale strategic initiative to simplify the integration process and make our codebase more performant across the device ecosystem. The initiative notably includes rewriting many of our core components – including this new version of our CDN Load Balancer SDKs – in C++ due to its speed, simplicity, and portability across platforms. Thanks to this large-scale compatibility project (a massive undertaking unto itself that we’ll tell you more about down the road), we’re now able to provide client-side load balancing for streaming video on the most popular mobile platforms in the world. Unlike most CDN switching solutions, CDN Load Balancer can also be integrated directly into native applications.

Just as it does on web browsers, CDN Load Balancer collects real-time QoS scores from mobile devices as well as Android-, iOS-, and Amazon Fire-based Smart TV platforms by analyzing the throughput and errors for each CDN in the stack. It then combines that data with the business score assigned to each CDN to form a global score that is used to select the best source for each video segment. The calculation to determine the global score is done via simple multiplication:

Global Score = QoS Score x Business Score

Business scores are determined by the client based on factors such as cost, reliability, and performance within a certain region, and can take integer values between 1 and 100. Therefore, if CDN A has a business score of 10 and CDN B has a business score of 5, CDN A’s QoS score would have to degrade to less than 50% of CDN B’s QoS before a switch is made. When performance does degrade to that level, CDN Load Balancer will switch to the next best available CDN, doing so mid-stream without any disruption to the end user. This calculation is done for every video segment in the streaming session, thereby seamlessly optimizing the experience for every individual viewer throughout the duration of the video without them ever realizing that a switch was made (see our support documentation to learn more).

CDN Load Balancer also comes with a developer viewing assistant to help you understand the different statistics that are being collected, and how they pertain to the switching process. This ‘Debug View’ is available for developers on both the iOS and Android versions of the tool and updates automatically throughout the streaming session:

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Like our other content delivery solutions, CDN Load Balancer is designed to be agnostic to both CDNs and video players, so it can integrate seamlessly into virtually any existing video workflow, regardless of the different vendors and solutions that are included within it. This not only helps ensure that users viewing the content will get the best possible experience regardless of the ISP, CDN, or video player that they’re utilizing, but also enables development teams to easily add CDN Load Balancer to their product roadmaps thanks to the rapid setup and integration process. Rather than planning for it six months out, CDN Load Balancer can be up and running within a week within most workflows.

To learn about how you can add a client-side CDN switching tool, reach out to us today.

[1] Conviva State of Streaming report, Q2 2020

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