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Flow gets the best of the internet

Trivago does hotel rooms, the EBU does CDNs. The Flow traffic tool, originated by using existing technology to open up a totally new area, has attracted huge attention for the way it gets the best of the internet in terms of routes, speed, cost and quality.

“It is more Google Maps. You plan your route and are driving at the same time, and you get alternative routes if your way is blocked,” said Bram Tullemans, EBU project owner, Flow. “That is the same functionality with the way we move video traffic.”

Flow measures the whole internet, and decides for a specific user a specific location and time for retrieving video as quickly as possible.

“We select the CDN that performs best. We started off talking to the BBC as it was doing it, then we did a full scan of our membership, and everybody thinks they want to go to this dynamic switching to become more independent from the different distributors they have to use,” said Tullemans.

“They can add their own arrangements like peering (transit) arrangements, together with CDNs.”

The EBU load balances traffic on quality and cost, and availability factors. It puts all of this in one place for any member. What do users get?

“This is a single 24/7 service because it is quite complex, but at the same time it is a toolbox which EBU members can apply to their environment. We are not positioning ourselves in between their distribution.

We are not a single point of failure,” said Tullemans.

Flow can hunt via country or ISP. “Regarding community information, a lot of websites have a piece of code that reports what the speed is. We add codes inside the player.

When we decide which CDNs to use, that interests our CDN partners because they can see where they are performing well,” said Tullemans.