Data center
Content Delivery NetworksThe benefit of a CDN structure is that the data is able to be delivered much more quickly and efficiently.

Distribution of Content

How the internet is physically constructed is a lengthy topic. Today we’ll focus on one common practice known as a Content Delivery Network. A Content Delivery Network, or CDN, is a term for a particular way of distributing internet content.

Traditionally, when you browse to a website from your computer, the information is pulled from the website server, carried over the internet, sent through an unknown number of Internet Exchange Points to your local network, and then translated by your browsing software.

In a CDN, content providers (Netflix would be one example) install servers with the most-accessed content in strategically placed locations at the very edge of where the Internet meets your local network. Such a location is often in the central office of your Internet Service Provider (ISP).


The benefit of a CDN structure for the end user is that the information is able to be delivered much more quickly and efficiently. The closer to the edge the content resides, the less devices it has to pass through, and the less likely it is to encounter some form of resistance or congestion. CDN arrangements also make it possible to download content even when that content provider’s website might be down. Finally, since less information is being transmitted through the Internet, there is less of a security risk because all routing is done locally to your ISP. The benefit of a CDN structure for the ISP also includes increased reliability and security, as well as reduced costs.

Traffic Congestion

Internet traffic is very similar to vehicle traffic in that the amount of it that is sustainable is dependent on how wide the road is and how many other people are traveling on it at the same time. If a typical internet connection is like driving a car down the information superhighway, a CDN is more like you’ve already flown to an airport close to your destination, and then you rent a car to drive the last 20 miles.

While exact CDN arrangements are subject to confidentiality rules, they are a common practice in the way the internet is constructed today and will continue to play a key role as the demand for digital content continues to grow into the future.

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