New internet web cache in Calgary will bring faster connections to all Albertans

resizedimage300484-Alberta-connected2As the demand for internet grows, so too does the pressure placed on the network itself to become faster and more cost-effective. Now, Alberta has taken a major leap forward to increasing the efficiency and speed of its internet, while helping Internet Service Providers (ISPs) — both big and small — become more competitive. Akamai Technologies, a content delivery network that delivers between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic, has opened a new “web cache” in Calgary that connects to the Calgary Internet Exchange (YYCIX). This means much of Alberta’s internet queries will not have to travel from Seattle or Vancouver, but can stay in the province.

Why is this important? For every extra mile that a digital download request has to travel over the internet’s pipelines, extra milliseconds are added to the end-user experience, and extra bandwidth fees are applied to the ISP transporting the download. And typically, users get a noticeably faster download speed from a nearby cache than from a remote one. Keeping internet traffic local is akin to keeping your business meetings local (rather than travelling via a toll road to hold a meeting in another city) — it saves time and money.

As Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator, and manager of the province’s Research and Education Network, Cybera played an important role in bringing the Akamai cache to Calgary. It helped facilitate the space for the Akamai servers at the University of Calgary datacentre, as well as the connection to the YYCIX (through which all local ISPs can link to it).

“This new web cache located at the University of Calgary will increase Cybera’s ability to serve the higher education and research community in southern Alberta,” says Jerome Beaudoin, Chief Information Officer at the University of Calgary. “The university is happy to provide the space in our data centre to support this initiative.”

This connection has already proved invaluable for O-NET, the community-led fibre network provider in Olds.

“The addition of an Akamai cache to the YYCIX has made a sizeable difference for O-NET,” says Robin Harder, Director of Operations for O-NET and a board member of YYCIX. “In addition to reducing our bandwidth costs, the performance increase of the local cache resulted in noticeable effects for our customers. For example, our gigabit customers reported that they were able to download all 28 GB of the recently released Star Wars™ Battlefront™ game in about five minutes. No more waiting! O-NET looks forward to continued collaboration with Cybera and the YYCIX to bring more content delivery networks to Alberta."

Creating these network efficiencies is as important for end-users as it is for ISPs, particularly as the internet becomes more of an integral business and learning tool. Cybera has witnessed this increasing need through the dramatic growth of its members bandwidth utilization. Its Peering Service transports, on average, transports 55% of members’ internet traffic, peaking as high as 85% for some members. Cybera has also found that members are consuming more bandwidth per individual, with data usage having doubled over the last three years.

Growing the internet backbone’s capacity, speed and efficiency will continue to be a high-priority as Alberta further embeds itself in the digital economy. Cybera is planning to continue forging connections to other major internet delivery networks, as well as increasing the capacity of its connections.

Learn more about CyberaNet here.