The benefits of peer-to-peer live content delivery

Peer-to-peer technology is often associated with the development of file-sharing platforms in the 1990s, which saw the creation of initiatives such as Napster, LimeWire, or BearShare. These simple programs allowed users to search for and download music and video files shared by other users. Their launch coincided with the increasing availability of high-speed internet connections and ended up attracting millions of users around the world, forevermore transforming the way music fans access their favorite tracks and albums.

Today however, peer-to-peer file sharing has been harnessed and honed into thousands of solutions that improve how information and data is shared. At System73, peer-to-peer technology forms the backbone of Edge Intelligence, our content delivery solution capable of broadcasting live and linear content around the world via an infinitely scalable, secure and centrally-orchestrated content delivery tree. 

In this blog, we break down the benefits of peer-to-peer content delivery, and offer an example of how System73’s Edge Intelligence solution successfully delivered one of the largest live sports events on the soccer calendar. 

A cost-effective solution

Peer-to-peer live streaming is an excellent, cost-effective alternative to traditional content delivery methods, such as content delivery networks (CDNs). CDNs require substantial infrastructure and investment, the costs of which are always passed onto the users (content creators and providers). On the other hand, System73’s centrally orchestrated broadcast tree, created by Edge Intelligence, harnesses the end user devices of viewers themselves to distribute live content over vast geographical distances. 

This solution significantly reduces infrastructure costs as the system only uses physical CDNs as touchpoints, minimizing the need to rely on physical servers and, therefore, bandwidth costs. What’s more, at System73, we charge our customers a flat fee to enable Edge Intelligence instead of charging per subscriber like many traditional CDNs. We also employ advanced machine-learning algorithms that help the system grow more intelligent over time, allowing it to make even faster decisions and free up valuable resources, which can then be invested in other areas of business growth.

Infinite scalability

With System73, our peer-to-peer live streaming model, Edge Intelligence, offers infinite scalability, allowing the network to grow based on audience demand and seamlessly handle peaks of traffic during popular events. Unlike traditional CDN-based streaming, Edge Intelligence bypasses physical edge servers that can pose challenges due to their limited bandwidth capacity, increase latency and even fail if demand becomes too high. 

By leveraging end-user devices, our system is not only able to scale up as needed, but it is also able to reach geographically remote and hard-to-reach areas while maintaining a high bit rate (suitable for the user’s device) and QoE. System73’s centrally orchestrated, peer-to-peer broadcast tree operates ‘off the grid’ —using traditional CDNs and physical edge servers as touchpoints to establish an initial connection— and grows as needed based on end-user streaming demand to support the largest live events around the world. 

Sustainability

At a time when the world’s focus is centered on the long-term sustainability of solutions, both physical and digital, peer-to-peer content delivery offers significant environmental benefits compared to traditional CDNs and streaming architectures. Traditional streaming relies heavily on centralized data centers, which consume vast amounts of energy in terms of operation and cooling systems. 

By contrast, Edge Intelligence’s peer-to-peer model distributes data across an infinitely scalable number of end-user devices, significantly reducing the reliance on these energy-intensive data centers. By leveraging the resources already available and active within the network, we drastically reduce the carbon footprint associated with content delivery. System73 is fully committed to developing high-quality, sustainable content delivery solutions that meet our customers’ evolving needs and align with their supplier sustainability goals.

System73 delivers the UEFA Champions League Final using peer-to-peer content delivery

On Saturday, the 1st of June 2024, System73 delivered the UEFA Champions League Final to viewers across the globe over our secure, centrally orchestrated broadcast tree. Over the course of the ninety-minute match, watched by 145 million fans, Edge Intelligence maintained 90% of our customer’s viewers on the highest bit rate for their device, ensuring maximum QoE. We also served the majority of these viewers in traditionally hard-to-reach areas, such as Peru, where CDN infrastructure is sparse. Nonetheless, Edge Intelligence still delivered hugely successful results for our customers, scaling up as needed according to demand and proving that our peer-to-peer live content delivery solutions can handle some of the most important and popular sporting events on the calendar.

For more information about System73, Edge Intelligence, or to book a call with our team, visit system73.com.