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ECDN solutions for corporate video streaming: A Buyer’s Guide

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Polina Davydova
ECDN solutions for corporate video streaming: A Buyer’s Guide

Video technology has a short but eventful history. From the phenakistoscope that appeared in 1832, to the first cinematographs developed by the Lumière brothers half a century later, to the UHD formats that we are now so accustomed to — video has evolved beyond recognition. Indeed, we need look no further than our televisions, phones, or laptops to enjoy high-fidelity video content. Whether that’s on Netflix, YouTube, or any other direct-to-consumer application, the uncompromising demand for utmost quality is now deeply ingrained in our psyche.

It might come as no surprise therefore that unreliable video, high latency, and disruptive buffering in the workplace are met with consternation (and perhaps some aggressive keyboard bashing). Yet, in the enterprise, this reaction is not uncommon: with more and more employees now used to uninterrupted video content at home, the demand for flawless streaming experiences at work has reached its climax. Without it, viewers lose interest in what they’re watching, disengage, and don’t connect in the way they should — hampering enterprises from performing critical operations across their business.

Whether for town halls, virtual events, employee engagement, or just about anything else — it’s now more important than ever for enterprises to meet people where they are in the digital age. Fortunately, software companies have answered this call, plugging the gap with advanced networking infrastructure that optimizes video content and matches expectations. These solutions are more commonly known as Enterprise Content Delivery Networks (eCDN).

In this latest article from our business blog, our team examines eCDN solutions, providing some suggestions for what enterprises need to consider when scaling content delivery across their business. Our hope is that this post is both informative and inspiring, and goes some way to supporting you in your search for better video. So if you’re an IT exec or workplace manager looking for some expert insight, you’re in the right place.

Introduction to eCDN solutions

What is an eCDN?

An Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) is a subtype of a traditional Content Delivery Network (CDN) that leverages private networks to help enterprises optimize the distribution of video content. Because live video delivered to large audiences requires significant bandwidth, this can negatively impact corporate network performance (and any other activities running simultaneously). eCDN solutions significantly reduce this network strain, coming with a number of benefits to the enterprise:

  • Reduced bandwidth constraint. eCDNs dynamically cache video content and relieve traffic congestion over the WAN connections within enterprise networks.
  • Better video quality. From faster video start times to reduced latency and buffering, eCDNs improve viewing experiences dramatically.
  • Lower costs. Investing in an eCDN solution minimizes costs by eliminating the need to make expensive network upgrades.
  • Stronger security. Unlike CDNs, eCDNs are deployed behind corporate firewalls, rather than on publicly accessible servers — improving security tenfold.

eCDN versus CDN: what’s the difference?

You might be wondering what makes eCDN and CDN solutions different. And it’s a valid question. Fundamentally, eCDNs and CDNs use the same underlying technology and principles to improve video performance — but there’s a few key differences that enterprises should consider:

  • Whereas a CDN distributes content over publicly accessible servers (i.e. the internet), an eCDN distributes content over internal networks — in other words: inside the corporate ‘firewall’ (with internal controls and security).
  • Traditional CDNs distribute content closer to individual end-users in terms of physical geography, while eCDNs distribute content closer to end-users within a corporate network (which could be in the same office building).
  • eCDN solutions are purpose-built for large businesses and organizations, while CDNs are more suitable for smaller commercial activities.

Multicast, P2P & Caching: understanding the different eCDN types

There are three types of eCDN technologies, each with its own advantages and drawbacks, depending on your business needs and the problems you’re looking to solve. These are multicast, peer-to-peer (P2P), and caching. Understanding which is best for your business depends on a number of factors. But first, knowing how each solution works will help you evaluate which technology might provide the most value going forward:


Multicast is a one-to-many and many-to-many protocol, using a single destination IP address to communicate. Multicast sends video packets across a computer network to several recipients simultaneously.

  • One copy of streaming data, sent once
  • Consistent bandwidth regardless of viewer count
  • Supports low latency
  • No local equipment needed
  • Supports live video


P2P networking sends video content to end-user devices active on a network, letting each user (or ‘peer’) download that content before sending it to other users (hence peer-to-peer).

  • Relies on viewing devices
  • No infrastructure/local equipment needed
  • Fast to deploy
  • Limited data traffic and congestion
  • Supports live and on-demand video


Video caching temporarily stores frequently accessed videos or video segments close to where viewers are located on a network. Content is then served internally to employees.

  • Traffic contained within the local network
  • No need to download video from source
  • Requires hardware/physical servers
  • Supports live and on-demand video

Selecting the right eCDN for your business

As mentioned earlier in the article, evaluating which solution is best for your business — whether that’s multicast, P2P, or caching — depends on a number of factors. Our advice would be to focus on priorities and objectives, and work back from there. Of course, once you’ve decided which technology you would like to deploy, you’ll then need to evaluate which provider has the potential to drive the most return on investment. Take a look at the checklist below and use this criteria when analyzing eCDN providers and their built-in features.

Key criteria to follow when choosing

  • Pricing (and budget). When it comes to eCDN providers, it’s not a case of one size fits all. In other words, some are more pricey than others, with pricing models varying considerably. For example, choosing between a subscription model and a pay-per-use model will depend on how often you’ll be streaming video content, the number of viewers, and how much configurability you want.
  • Use cases (and scale). Establishing what video content you’ll be streaming is critical to understanding which solution will work best. Multicast solutions, for instance, are not suitable for on-demand video. Furthermore, knowing likely audience sizes will help narrow down your search. While eCDN solutions are built to scale, some are better for large audiences, others for smaller audiences.
  • Configuration/topology of your network. As some solutions require local equipment and physical servers, it’s important to consider how an eCDN integrates with your enterprise’s local network. Do I want a managed or unmanaged service to be the foundation of my eCDN instance? Is the solution compatible with my employees’ devices?

A few other things to consider

  • Reliability. While eCDNs are reliable, it’s very rare for any technology to have 100% uptime. However, the closer you can get to that number, the better.
  • Geography. Not all eCDN solutions provide edge servers that support streaming across borders and time zones. So if you want to go global, factor this in.
  • Customer support. If streams do ever go down, having access to technical support is mission-critical, so you can get live again as soon as possible.
  • Integrations & compatibility. Make sure the eCDN solutions you’re considering are compatible with the video communication software and platforms used at your company.  

Why Hive Streaming’s eCDN is purpose-built for the enterprise

You might be reading this and thinking: where does Hive fit in? Again, it’s a valid question. The simple answer is that Hive offers one of the industry’s most advanced eCDN solutions — purpose-built for the enterprise.

Adopting the P2P approach that we looked at earlier in this article, Hive’s software-only solution leverages the viewers themselves to cache watched VOD and live streams content — serving it directly to other viewers within the same LAN via smart, self-organizing, and secure peering. And thanks to self-organizing video optimization algorithms, our solution doesn’t require specific network planning or provisioning. The cherry on the top? Hive automatically scales with however many employees you’re streaming to.

Why Hive’s P2P approach is the way to go

  • Enterprise-grade, purpose-built for corporate networks
  • Supports live and on-demand video
  • Doesn’t change the format of the video
  • Supports multi-bitrate streaming
  • Integrates with multiple platforms
  • Managed by self-learning algorithms
  • Built on your existing infrastructure
  • Requires no further configuration 
  • Meets the most stringent security demands
  • Testing takes weeks (not months)

Much more than just video optimization

Of course, an eCDN is excellent for optimizing video, both in terms of quality and speed — but there’s a number of benefits besides.

  • Advanced security. Hive stores no sensitive data (like PII, credentials, customer, or partner information). It’s all safe behind your own firewall.
  • Seamless integrations. Hive works synchronously with your existing enterprise video platform, with no need for time-consuming configuration. 
  • Granular analytics. Hive provides in-depth insights to help you understand performance, offering greater control over tests/caps with our native client.

Employee experience & engagement

While eCDN solutions represent a number of benefits to IT & Infrastructure teams (in terms of deployment, distribution, scalability, and security), they also hold massive potential for the entire enterprise. Whether you’re looking to democratize viewership, optimize internal communications, or get on top of employee engagement — Hive eCDN has something for just about everything.

Ready to get started?

There are several ways to procure Hive: directly through us, via our partners, or on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace (using your MACC commitment if you wish).

Curious to know more?
Speak to a solutions expert to learn more about streaming video with Hive eCDN.

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