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Customer Experience On The Net
promise of a profitable, broadband Internet continues to elude
service providers. Rapid advances in optical networking and
a glut of rich media content being rushed to the Web have
been fueling the bandwidth boom in our public networks. While
service providers have been investing heavily in networking
equipment seeing cumulative capital spending of over $100
billion this year the prospect of new revenue remains elusive,
increased profits become more and more improbable.
has become a commodity, subsumed by the public's interest
in content. Driving this "content boom" is a variety
The adoption of high-speed broadband access.
outsourcing of business applications.
increase of international connectivity.
explosion in the volume of digitized content, new content
locations and Web enabled access devices.
the content boom, the focus of Internet infrastructure engineering
is moving from bandwidth and connectivity to rich content
delivery, driving a major market disruption for network equipment
suppliers, service providers, content publishers and e-businesses
Do THEY Want The Internet To Be?
End users are looking for more from the Internet and are demanding
better reasons beyond high-speed access to spend money with
service providers. Besides speed, they want security, reliability
and rich, relevant content all transparently delivered to
whatever Internet access device they're using, anywhere, anytime.
the content boom is overwhelming the content providers who
not only have to worry about producing new, high quality content
continuously but also need to mange the rapidly amassing volume
of content. Different versions of content must be rendered
for different audienceson standard and wireless browsers,
in different languages and with local cultural and geographic
references. Managing and distributing this content has become
an arduous task.
content development, management and distribution are chief
concerns for content providers, but so is reducing customer
acquisition costs. Content providers today go to great lengths
in targeting and acquiring identified customers because they
are operating on an Internet where the actual customers are
invisible. For example, the acquisition cost per subscriber
for America Online is approximately $93 (Merrill Lynch, 2000).
providers also need to expand their revenue base and create
new service offerings that allow them to differentiate themselves.
understand that the connectivity business is difficult to
sustain and content-based services are driving the new economy.
Service providers want to deliver new managed hosting services
based on intelligent content distribution, as well as leverage
their subscriber base to provide audience-targeted content
the interests of end-users, content and service providers
do converge, in matching each target Web user with content
tailored to their preferences,
access devices and service levels.
is Not Personal
Personalization is as much about responding to the needs of
end users to easily get at the content they want as it is
about addressing the needs of content providers to identify
their target audience in order to create a unique, customized
experience for them.
the IP Internet makes personalizing content and services difficult
for the providers.
With the virtualization of Web resources and the wide spread
use of proxies, an IP address no longer uniquely identifies
a Web user or destination.
about the user, his preferences and his requested content
are embedded in protocols above the IP level, within the Web
IP is blind to such information, directing user traffic to
the appropriate content server must be shouldered by the applications.
the network delivers a user request across the Internet only
to have it redirected by the receiving server to another server
elsewhere for fulfillment
unnecessary processing and Internet trips degrade user response
time and increase system overhead.
More seriously, users have lost shopping carts or were disconnected
in the midst of a transaction due to misdirected requests,
resulting in user frustration and lost opportunities for content
profit from the content boom, service providers must turn
the current IP infrastructure into a personal content delivery
network, enabling content providers to deliver each user relevant
content, based on the user's preferences and the nature of
his request, as quickly and directly as possible.
The emergence of Content Delivery Networks (CDN) based on
intelligent content caching and edge delivery is a first step
in this direction.
are important to maximizing Web site performance and enhancing
user's experience. They allow service providers to cache copies
of the most popular Web content at traffic concentration points
and deliver it from the closest proximity to the users. With
popular content distributed to multiple points in the network,
CDNs also improve content availability.
basic function of a CDN is to route user requests to content
sites that are nearest, in Internet terms, to the requesting
users. To do this, the CDN must know where the requesting
user is relative to each content location.
Better yet, if the CDN has the added intelligence to determine
both the content being requested and the user's preferences,
it can limit its site selection to locations that are capable
of serving the relevant content.
today's CDN services and products match requests to content
sites without actually seeing the requests. Traditional methods
to determine client proximity are based on the Internet's
Domain Name Service (DNS), used to resolve Web site names
to IP addresses.
DNS provides little or no visibility into the actual content
(URL) being requested or any attributes of the requester (e.g.
IP address, browser type, language, cookie, etc.) If a user
is situated close to his DNS server, the CDN will make a site
determination that is at least near the user. However, if
the user is using a centralized DNS service from his service
provider, then the resulting site selection is effectively
importantly, selecting the request fulfillment site without
actually seeing the user request means that each content site
must be capable of serving all potential requests, including
that for static objects, streams, wireless encoded content,
etc. This certainly does nothing to help content providers
ease content management and distribution.
addition, applications that require user persistence will
break, as the CDN has no way of guaranteeing that the same
site will be selected for a given user over multiple transactions.
such limitations, current CDNs can only distribute a small
percentage of the entire content. While they have improved
Web performance, they fail to address a key management user
identification a fundamental element for personalized content
The Personal Internet is a new approach that radically alters
how users and content come together. To efficiently match
up a user with the best content site, the network must know
something about the user and the content being requested.
Fortunately, this information can be found in each Web request.
conventional networking technologies that blindly switch packets
at high rates, content-intelligent Personal Internet solutions,
such as Layer-7 Web switches and content routers, classify
Web sessions using information embedded in the body of the
session and manage traffic to ensure end-to-end session integrity.
parsing each user's request, the Personal Internet can determine
the actual user's Internet location and measure the performance
and reliability of the content sites relative to the user
in real time.
addition, the Personal Internet knows the URL being requested,
the user's browser type and language, as well as other classifications
based on embedded cookies in the user request. Such information
can be used to further refine content site and content server
selection, ensuring that users are connected to the right
content in the most direct and speedy way.
The Real Value?
Not only is the Personal Internet an essential next step in
enhancing end-user experiences, it also helps content providers
manage their ever growing volume of content.
site selection allows content providers to distribute different
parts of their content to locations near their target audiences.
example, wireless encoded contents should be distributed to
wireless POPs; on demand streaming content should be pre-positioned
at highly concentrated viewing locations.
offering intelligent CDN solutions, service providers at the
subscriber edge can take personalization even a step further.
They can provide the most customized level of service for
their subscribers, including self-provisioned network services
such as video conferencing and bandwidth on-demand, content
services such as personal home pages and content filtering.
creating new revenue opportunities for service providers,
the Personal Internet also empowers them to team with content
publishers to deliver value-added content to their subscribers.
example, service providers can take advantage of their proximity
to users to offer a slew of high-quality streaming media services.
Based on agreements with their subscribers, service providers
may increase their sources of revenue by offering to content
providers and e-businesses services such as targeted ad insertion
and portal steering.
Nortel Networks Personal Internet portfolio is comprised of
products at both the subscriber and content edge. These include:
Shasta 5000 Broadband Service Node
Personal Content Portals
Content-Intelligent Web Switches
Integrated Service Directors
Personal Content Cache and Content Distri-bution Management.
the customer is King and the content provider has to satisfy
and sustain his interest for his own survival.
courtesy: Nortel Networks