The Complete Guide to eCDN Solutions

Phil Henken
Phil Henken
Updated May 29 2022
Phil Henken
Phil Henken
Updated May 29 2022

eCDN (also referred to as ECDN) describes solutions to delivering content at enterprise level. There was already a defined role for video meetings in business, but as virtual and hybrid work situations, and virtual meetings and events, become more commonplace organizations need to manage even larger amounts of video content. This guide runs down the essentials of scaling content delivery within your business. To get a leg up on eCDN content solutions in the future, continue below.





What is ECDN (Enterprise Content Delivery Network)?

In a sentence, eCDN is a CDN (content delivery network) solution that’s designed for a limited corporate network (i.e. the “enterprise” aspect) and allows video broadcasting for large audiences within the company.


eCDN provides a reliable video solution for business-related virtual events such as training, all-hands meetings, town halls, webcasts, and other things important for operating large enterprises. It manages and optimizes the distribution of bandwidth-intensive video. lightening the burden of all this data on the corporate network.




What is the difference between CDN and ECDN?

In commercial video streaming, content delivery networks (CDN) are used to distribute content physically closer to end-users to increase performance. A CDN represents a network of servers and data centers spread out over long distances to cache and deliver content. Since the content might be stored on the other side of the world from the viewer, the CDN cuts a fairly significant delay. CDNs are generally configured to provide a better experience for extremely high numbers of users/viewers.


With employees now accustomed to the relatively flawless streaming associated with commercial CDNs like Netflix or YouTube, it’ll be mandatory to provide a reliable enterprise streaming solution or risk frustration and disengagement due to high latency and disruptive buffering.


In enterprise streaming, however, there will most likely be fewer users than with commercial content, and many of the viewers will probably be in close proximity (such as in the same building). The features that make some technologies ideal for CDN might not work in enterprises due to differences in scale and delivery.




The Traditional Content Delivery Concept & ECDN

Without using eCDN, viewers are downloading from external CDN or dependent on ISP links, stressing corporate network resources with video traffic. Issues this creates include increased wide-area network bandwidth when every viewer must connect to the content origin server (creating increased costs with your internet service provider), and higher traffic through the corporate firewall, leading to overloading, potential security exposures, and ultimately increased equipment costs.


An eCDN is deployed inside the corporate firewall, reducing the number of network resources required to serve traffic. Rather than multiple outward connections to the internet, content only needs to be downloaded once from an origin server. Viewers get the content from eCDN servers over the corporate LAN (local area network). In addition to reducing wide-area bandwidth, it also decreases the load on the firewall as far fewer incoming data packets must be inspected.




Why is it Complicated for Enterprises to Scale Video Delivery?

When internal corporate events take place, such as webcasts or all-hands meetings, employees will all connect at the same time to the cloud service to stream the video. So for example, if good quality video used about 1 Mbps, 5,000 employees connecting will consume 5 Gbps. It’s not guaranteed the corporate network has a 5 Gbps downlink from the internet from their ISP. It gets more complicated if there are even more, say 15K or 20K, employees trying to connect to stream video. Additionally, with the increase in work-from-home or hybrid working arrangements, employees might require VPN access and other remote access to the corporate network daily. Complications from multiple connections, high traffic, and other factors that strain networks are likely to arise.




The Benefits of ECDN

There are numerous benefits of employing an eCDN solution, however, there are a few key areas to focus on:


Reducing Network Traffic at Corporate Locations

An eCDN will use various means to cache video content and deliver it to all users who view from the same location over your local network. Video content can be downloaded from upstream servers as a single copy for each transcoded version. Overall this will reduce network traffic.


Lower Costs

In the bargain, the eCDN lowers cost by eliminating the need for high capacity internet connections at every location.


Higher Security

eCDN instances are deployed behind your corporate firewalls. Most users will also connect to the servers on the local network on the local network. All traffic passes through encrypted HTTPS protocols, and connections to the internet (where more security threats are likely) are minimized.


Higher Quality Viewing Experience

An eCDN instance will provide fast access to users in locations where servers are deployed within the corporate network. Ideally, this is the majority of your physical locations.


Improved Control and Simple Operations

Since eCDN servers are behind your firewall and serve your LAN, you install them, you can reconfigure them at any time, and it’s relatively easy to monitor the viewership on the servers as well as the overall network performance.




Kinds of ECDN Solutions

There are three main eCDN solutions commonly used for video distribution. The best way to solve the problem for your own business or organization can depend on several factors, including budget, the type of video being streamed, your network topology, and what kind of IT and security policies are in place. None of these solutions are the “best” so much as they might prove to be “the best for you”:


  • ECDN – Multicast A multicast protocol serves one to many and many to many, using a single destination IP address to communicate. The network delivers data packets from any sender in the group to all receivers.


Multicast is best applied to live and scheduled-rebroadcast events; it’s not a technology for VOD (video-on-demand). However, it is efficient in sending one copy of streaming data across the network that multiple viewers in different locations can watch. Rather than different connections creating congestion, all of the viewers are tuned in to the one stream.


  • ECDN – P2P Networking P2P networking has been described as the “carpooling” of network traffic–with more users in one “car” there is less overall traffic. An eCDN that uses P2P networking creates a distributed network of end-user devices that are all streaming the same content. The content is brought to the network a limited amount of times, and then the user devices (i.e. “peers”) share it with one another. It’s a win-win as viewers can receive a high-quality stream while sparing the network excessive data traffic and congestion.


  • ECDN – Caching Servers Caching servers temporarily store frequently accessed video or video segments close to where the viewers are located on the network–there’s a stored copy locally so there’s no need to pull the video directly from the source each time.


This results in fewer video streams from the source to viewers. It’s demand-driven and can work well for both on-demand and live events. With less traffic, as in the P2P example, there also tends to be less network congestion. In this case, traffic is contained within the local network (probably representing a smaller amount of users) rather than having to keep downloading the video from the source.




Technical Background of ECDN

Usually, an eCDN application will include the following main components:


  • eCDN Management Portal. A web-based portal that allows you to administer eCDN deployments and monitor the status and performance of server instances.


  • ECDN Edge Server Instance. eCDN servers are proxy cache servers that run behind your firewall in the corporate network. It downloads and caches video stream contents, and then acts as the content origin for video player clients. You may have multiple eCDN server instances to cover different physical locations.


  • ECDN Backend Services. Backend services are generally a collection of web-based services that work in the delivery of the eCDN. Services likely include collecting performance metrics, providing updates and upgrades, and monitoring the health of eCDN servers. Customers don’t interact with these services, only the server end-points (hence the term “backend”).


Final Thoughts

While this guide is intended to give a full rundown of the major aspects of eCDN in broad strokes, it’s not meant to be a technical “deep dive.” If a CDN solution seems like a solution that would be advantageous to you and your content delivery operation, there’s much more to learn about any individual solution. We hope we’ve given you a solid foundation for understanding eCDN and engaged your curiosity. From here you can start your research and narrow it down to the most appropriate solution, or combination of solutions, for your business or organization!

Enterprise video streaming solutions

Power any video need in your enterprise… with Kaltura’s enterprise video solutions!

Learn More