CDNs In The Service Of Online Education
The pandemic Covid19 has disrupted the education industry in significant ways. Educational institutions worldwide were among the first to shut down to minimize the spread of the virus. As schools, educational institutions and colleges were forced to shut down, the pandemic disrupted the normal routine. This trend has accelerated the digital transformation of education as people turned to the online education delivery model to ensure that learning is not disrupted. Consequently, ed-tech has boomed. In India, ed-tech (short for education enabled by technology or online education) startups have raised 1.1 bn USD investments in 2020, an annual record. (source: Bloomberg.com)
Parents and students have realized that ed-tech is not only relevant in times of the pandemic but that this mode of education delivery can make the whole learning experience seamless and easy. According to a survey by the Center For Democracy & Technology, 85 percent of teachers and 74 percent of parents are supportive of online learning continuing as part of classroom instruction when students return to campus.
However, for the online education opportunities to truly flourish, they need to bridge the gap and reach the people who do not have reliable or robust internet connectivity access. There is also the need to deliver live, interactive classes with rich media to offer an engaging learning experience. The surge in accessing courses and education channels has placed considerable demand on the servers, and it calls for companies to be better prepared to address this spike in demand. It means that the network needs to be well-prepared for transferring larger bandwidth of data.
It requires innovative solutions for handling this spike in bandwidth requirements, and this is where Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) come into the picture. A CDN utilizes a network of interconnected servers to deliver the requested content from closest to the user. This helps to reduce lag in video content delivery, which becomes especially important when the network connectivity is subpar. Thus, the CDN services help to reduce buffering, prevent bottlenecks, especially when providing access to rural areas, and those areas where there is a massive opportunity for ed-tech but the information highway is not well-maintained and sometimes unstable.
So, let’s understand what benefits CDNs can provide to ed-tech companies?
- Reducing the website reload time – Today, content delivery speed of websites has become very important. Numerous research and observations show that as the website loading time increases, the likelihood of the user churning away from your website increases. You should ensure that your website content gets loaded in 3 seconds or less, and actually, the lower you can go, the better user experience your site will provide. There are few things worse than seeing your audience drift away to a competitor site, right?
- Reducing the network costs – When your website is hosted on only a single server, all the requests and responses must be directed and routed from this origin server. This can significantly drive up your network bandwidth costs if your server needs to answer a huge number of requests. Having a CDN helps reduce the network costs by caching the content from the origin server in an intermediary server that is located close to the end-user. This helps to reduce your network footprint and consequently helps to bring down the costs because less data needs to be transferred in and out of the host server that you own.
- Increasing website and content security– Security is a critical aspect of modern web architecture. Your company is one severe data breach away from falling into serious disadvantage and losing customer trust. CDNs utilize to deliver superior software and hardware optimizations that also provide excellent security performance. CDN architecture is also optimized to protect against DDoS attacks, which can lead to severe revenue losses if your website goes down.
- Increasing content availability – Content Delivery Networks help increase content delivery speed thanks to their unique architecture. It reduces the Round Trip Time, which refers to the time that it takes for a request-response cycle to get completed), by caching the content within globally distributed Points of Presence (PoPs). This geographically-agnostic content caching enables businesses located in one corner of the world to access demographics located in another corner of the world seamlessly.
- Protecting the origin server from the excessive load – Because CDNs cache and deliver content from localized PoPs, they significantly decrease the number of requests that your origin server receives. This is useful from an infrastructure maintenance perspective and improves health and longevity, reducing your maintenance and operational costs.
- Providing scalability and flexibility to respond to peaks and troughs in consumption patterns – One of the key benefits of having a CDN in your architecture is the remarkable flexibility that it provides you in terms of scaling to meet unforeseen spikes in consumption. Let’s say you have an amazing course that you are rolling out on Black Friday, and you have poured considerable marketing into it, which has picked up impressive online buzz. Consequently, you are seeing unprecedented site visits on the day of the course launch. Oh! The course is a hit already. Here, the last thing that you would want to happen is for your website to crash under this heavy traffic load. Sounds too impossible to be true? Well, they do happen to the biggest and the best of brands. Take Amazon, which is calculated to have lost millions of USD in potential sales revenue due to an outage on Prime Day 2019. These are pretty regular occurrences, and investing in a sound and reliable CDN architecture and strategy is an excellent bet to avoiding that.
The benefits of having a CDN are well accepted as a standard industry practice in the education tech industry, and this is why CDNs are routing so much traffic these days. In 2022, CDNs are expected to carry 252 exabytes of data per month, up from 54 exabytes of data per month in 2017. That is almost five-times growth in a few years!
As the pandemic gave a further impetus and accelerated the shift towards online demand, which was already accelerating, the importance of investing in a robust CDN service is now more crucial.
Medianova provides global CDN solutions and cloud platforms, and we are experienced in streaming, encoding, caching, micro caching, hybrid CDN, and website acceleration. With our footprint in 21 countries and 100% SSD-powered anycast network, Medianova is one of the fastest HTTPS secure CDNs in Europe and the Middle East based on Cedexis.