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IP at IBC: How Signiant solves the IP problem

Sep 14, 2015 By Meg Cater

There was a lot of discussion around IP (internet protocol) technology at this year’s IBC conference, from setting the tone at Friday’s “Annual Health Check of the Media Business” throughout the long weekend of presenters looking to the future of content creation, management and distribution. All of it trickled into the non-stop conversations at Signiant’s booth. We were happy to hear so many insightful questions and share how our technology improves on standard IP. Here’s a little more detail on the subject.

How Signiant solves the IP problem for large file video transfers

First, let’s break down the problem. Most networks combine IP with TCP (transmission control protocol) in order to establish a connection between a source and a destination. This IP/TCP layer forms the foundation of data transfer protocols such as HTTP and FTP. For the large majority of information communicated between endpoints over TCP/IP networks, data flows without issue.

However, the increasingly large content files of media combined with an expanding virtual nexus of production, editorial and distribution channels cause TCP to break down. TCP uses a transfer mechanism that will only send a limited amount of data before pausing for acknowledgment of safe receipt from the other end. While this ensures reliability for most of the data that moves over the internet, for large files, it actually does the opposite because they require many more round trips and associated latency that increases with longer distant transfers. Considering that HD and even Ultra HD are moving around a global media landscape, it’s no wonder that TCP can’t hold up.

Latency is one drawback, but different IP technologies also impact bandwidth utilization.

EmmyTCP based protocols can only use a limited amount of bandwidth, so even a very high bandwidth network will not automatically translate to fast file movement, especially in high latency networks (networks that are spread across multiple countries, for instance).

Signiant’s proprietary protocol is often called “UDP acceleration” but is really many steps beyond standard UDP (user datagram protocol). Our IP technology uses more advanced reliability, flow and congestion control protocols on top of UDP. We’ve also replaced standard TCP with a more advanced file transfer protocol.

All together, Signiant’s acceleration technology virtually eliminates latency for long distant, large file transfers and fully utilizes available bandwidth. It improves on standard IP transfer speeds up to 200 fold, with the security needed in today’s hyper connected world.

As always, cloud was another big subject at IBC this year. Signiant has been a leader in developing true SaaS solutions, allowing the core acceleration technology we’ve worked for decades to develop to be delivered with all the advantages of cloud-based services. In fact, our pioneering work as a SaaS solutions provider for the media industry is what got us awarded an Emmy this year. But we will save that discussion for another blog.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at IBC. We had a great time meeting you and hope to see you again next year!