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2016

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Access control is more than a passing fancy for many Limelight customers. In April, 2016, we will have many features in the Orchestrate Platform to help control who can access what, from where. We recently merged two access control features: ACL  (Access Control Lists) and  Geo-Fencing. For quite a while, we have had support for Geo-Fencing and ACLs. Geo-Fencing enables customers to allow/deny access based on an end-user's geographic location. ACLs enable customers to allow/deny access based on end-user IP address or HTTP Method. In the original implementation, Geo-Fencing and ACLs were separate processes and were difficult to use in concert. The new White/Black Listing IP and Geo-Fencing is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

In the new implementation, Geo-Fencing and IP ACL are combined into a set of access control rules. The new service allows IPs to be organized into "Groups". IP Groups and IP geo-location data are treated in the same manner. Access control rules are processed in the order in which they are written. The first time and IP address is found in a rule determines how that IP will be treated. Mixing and matching IP Groups and geo-location  rules is considerably more flexible than the disparate legacy systems were.

 

  Feature of the new system include:

Rule

Description

HTTP Method

Allow/deny access based on HTTP method. Option: get/head/options/post/put/delete

Geo-Fence

Allow/deny access based on geographic location of  end-users IP address

IP Groups

Allow/deny access to a group of IP address.   IP ranges in a group can be defined by: get/head/options/post/put/delete

Anonymous  Proxy

Allow/deny access to end-users who are routing their requests through an anonymous proxie

All

Allow/deny access to all

 

Example:

Sportsball_Live.com  has licensed distribution of the World Championship of CalvinBall (WCCB).  Their license limits them to European distribution. Advertising partners paid big bucks to bring WCCB to Europe. The partner offices are spread around the globe and must have access to the WCCB content. The licence agreement is strict and requires the blocking access from anonymous proxies.

 

An ordered set of access control rules can be constructed to enable Sportsball_Live.com  to meet their licence agreement and bring WCCB to Europe.

Calvin Ball.gif

Rule Order

Name

Action

Description

1

HTTP Method

Allow get/head/options

Because WCCB  is a live video event  HTTP methods will be restricted to  get/head/options

2

Whitelist

Allow Advertising_Partners_List

Explicitly allows any IP found in the Advertising_Partners_List access to the WCCB Event

3

Geo-fence

Deny Anonymous Proxies

Explicitly denies access to WCCB to any know anonymous proxies

4

Geo-fence

Allow Europe

Explicitly allows access to WCCB event to any IP in Europe

5

ALL

Deny All

Denies access to any end-user who has not been given access by the above rules. ALL should always be the last rule.

One of the largest Esports events in the world just took place this weekend - the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championships in Katowice, Poland.  IEM Katowice featured three games - CounterStrike, League of Legends, and Starcraft II.  Qualifying tournaments have been running all over the world for the Finals in Katowice, and each game’s championship match offered € 500,000. And lots of people were watching the action—live and online. In fact, online viewership for this 3-part tournament likely exceeded last year’s 2.3 million peak concurrent viewers and 4 million Youtube views.

Crowd.jpg

 

What a lot of people don’t know, though, is what goes on behind the scenes of these events. From player preparation to live-stream logistics, there’s a ton of activities happening. In a recent webinar (full disclosure: Limelight Networks hosted the webinar) with Fnatic’s CEO Wouter Sleijffle, we took attendees behind the scenes to look at how professional sports agencies, like Fnatic, prepare their teams for this intense competition and what’s required to host a world-class live streaming event. Here are a few highlights:

  • Player preparation happens on multiple levels. Players have to be prepared physically and mentally to hold up to the hours of intense live action on stage. Wouter shared that part of this preparation is being able to rely on teammates, and spending time together away from the game, even occasionally living together in training venues as a way to build trust and connection between teammates.
  • Developers have a role to play in preparation. Wouter had some advice for game developers—create training tools that let coaches and analysts improve game play.  Don’t hold back exciting game play for the top levels - make all levels exciting.
  • It’s not all about just playing the game. Are you a couch potato convinced hours of game playing will make you the best?  Not so, it appears. Fnatic puts a surprising amount of work into the physical fitness of their players, including healthy eating and sleeping habits. It’s all designed to keep the mind as sharp as possible.  And flexible too.
  • The competition is never over. Think that a professional gamer’s work is done after the event? Not according to Wouter who feels that data analytics (post-match analysis) plays a crucial role in future success. In fact, Fnatic now employs not one but two analysts to dig into game play data, competitors and match data.

 

Does all this preparation work?  Turns out it does - really well.  The results from Katowice are in:

Winners.jpg

 

 

Limelight and Cedexis were both on hand during the webinar to explain how live event gets transmitted to millions of fans around the world who are watching from their PC’s, phones and tablets. Delivering broadcast quality coverage to this audience, especially when they are watching from all around the globe, on hundreds of different devices, is a huge challenge.  Luckily many of these challenges have solutions that have been tested and proven successful by other industries that deliver live events:

  • Planning is key. Preparing for a live event actually requires careful planning and an experienced team. For an online audience to receive broadcast quality requires that a broadcaster’s entire workflow, from the stage cameras to the encoding and transcoding to the content delivery, is architected to eliminate latency and handle sudden spikes in viewership.
  • The public Internet is not the right solution. If you want to create a high quality experience for your audience relying on the public internet is a poor choice.   Some of the  the reasons for this are that Esports audiences are truly global and  the size of these audiences can be large and unpredictable.  Congestion from other events on the public internet can interfere with a smooth broadcast, or ruin the quality of a broadcast for an entire region.
  • Build in redundancy. By choosing between 2 or more CDN’s for your broadcast, you ensure capacity for every log-on. Two or more CDN’s also allows traffic optimization between the CDN’s for each CDN investment you get the most out of that investment.

For more on how to satisfy Esports live event viewers, and how the pro’s prepare for these amazing contests, you can listen to the whole webinar  here.

 

 

Photos Courtesy of Edwin Kuss, March 2016.