• Network Investments Paying Off for Akamai in Delivering Record-Setting Live Sports

    Akamai’s network investments are paying off as the company keeps delivering ever-greater levels of concurrent live sports streams. The latest example occurred with last weekend's Euro 2016 Portugal-France championship match where Akamai delivered a peak of 7.3 Tbps during overtime. That level beat the 2014 Argentina-Netherlands World Cup final which achieved a 7.0 Tbps peak.

    Akamai said that over 3.3 million concurrent streams were delivered at peak across 35 rights-holders globally. Akamai’s VP, Product Management Corey Halverson told me in a briefing that a number of network investments in quality and reliability have been instrumental in supporting the record streaming activity.

    In the “first mile” from the broadcaster to Akamai’s network, UDP ingest is becoming the norm, offering improved efficiency and control vs. traditional TCP-IP. For Euro 2016, Akamai was able to ingest dozens of feeds from all over the world, encoding them in 8-10 bitrates, which resulted in hundreds of individual streams. The average bit rate delivered was 2.2 mbps.  Corey said that Akamai was able to deliver the maximum bitrate defined by each broadcaster over 70% of the time.

    Looking ahead a bit, Akamai’s network will be put to a new test with the Rio Olympics where Akamai will be working with over 50 broadcasters.  The Euro 2016 record will almost surely be eclipsed as Corey sees a potential peak of 15 Tbps. That would far exceed the peak of 873 Gbps during the 2012 Olympics.

    While linear TV still dwarfs online viewing for sports, the proliferation of mobile devices has made out-of-home viewing more appealing than ever. As viewers come to expect TV quality streaming online and on mobile, no doubt new peak records will continue to be set.

    (Note: Akamai is a VideoNuze sponsor)