Akamai Aqua Ion Provides Situational Performance for Network Optimization

Depending on where an end-user is and the type of device they are using, there is likely going to be different network conditions and requirement. That’s a reality that content delivery network vendor Akamai is now coming to terms with a new technology called Aqua Ion.

Akamai’s network already optimizes traffic over what the regular public Internet delivery system provides. The idea with Aqua Ion is to go deeper in an effort to provide the best user experience across any device, application or network situation.

“What we’re introducing with Aqua Ion is a layer of optimization so when we are delivering content for our customers we are optimizing the payload for the browser, device, connection speed and the situational requirements,” M.J. Johnson, director of product marketing for Akamai’s Aqua solutions line, told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet.

Johnson noted that Aqua Ion is a situational performance solution that enhances Akamai existing edge caching and acceleration approach.

In terms of how Aqua Ion improves connections, Johnson said that Akamai has an entire catalog of front end optimization that they will use on a request by request basis. Those optimizations include transcoding to reduce the size of images and objects. JavaScript can be optimized through asynchronous execution or by deferring or offloading JavaScript.

“So there is transformation logic that we can apply in the network, “Johnson said. “There is also the ability to observe the performance of the network itself.”

As such, when Aqua Ion sees the throughput decreasing for a particular connection, Akamai provides its customers with the ability to choose how much they want to modify their data to accommodate the decreased throughput.

From an automated policy perspective, Johnson explained that transformation logic can be applied automatically based on the device, browser and connectivity.

On the transformation side, Akamai is using home grown technologies as opposed to leveraging tools like Google SPDY. SPDY is an emerging web standard for helping to accelerate HTTP transport. Johnson stressed that Akamai is supportive of protocol enhancement efforts and they are not mutually exclusive of the Aqua Ion efforts.

Akamai has a WAN optimization partnershipin place with Riverbed already to help enterprise users. Johnson noted that the same concepts behind Aqua Ion also apply to enterprise customers. The Aqua Ion technology is additive to whatever an Akamai client might already be using, according to Johnson.

“Aqua Ion is an acknowledgement of the fact that a one size fits all approach is important but there is a need to shift to situational performance as well,” Johnson said. “What performance means to me on an iPhone 5 over an LTE connection is different than what performance is when I’m sitting at home on Wi-Fi with my Android tablet.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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