Level 3 Communications provide a portfolio of co-location,
internet, fibre-based transmission, voice, and content and media
In addition to supporting traditional telecommunications
transport and IP services, Level 3 Communications' fibre-based
transmission and IP networks also provide the lower network layers
upon which streaming media, content delivery and broadcast services
are supported. Typically, each of its backbone fibre routes consist
of one or more fibre cables, with each cable consisting of multiple
fibre pairs. Using Level 3 transmission equipment in service today,
each fibre pair can support as much as 3.2T bit/s of data.
Fiber optics is basically the transport layer for all internet
traffic and that really is the core part of Level 3's business. We
provide facilities to companies to allow them to retail internet
access to the consumer or to businesses.
Level 3's Broadcast Services are supported using its Vyvx
Broadcast Network. A number of broadcasters are connected directly
to our London node and we carry a lot of broadcast traffic related
to specific events. For example, with the Royal Wedding, live
television signals from outside broadcast trucks in Westminster
were fed to Level 3's London Vyvx Node. From here the live feeds
were distributed using the Vyvx Broadcast Network to a number US
and Canadian broadcasters.
Level 3's Content Delivery Network is a vast system of
interconnected servers that are clustered together in Level 3
datacentres across the globe. These servers store and deliver
content (music, movies, software, documents) directly to
Level 3 provide a range of fixed rate and adaptive streaming
media services. We can encode to pretty much any format the
customer needs from fixed-rate Adobe Flash and Windows Media, to
adaptive Microsoft Silverlight Smooth, HTTP Adaptive (which is used
by iPhones and iPads) and Adobe Dynamic. Basically, whatever your
device and operating system, we can get content to it.
Up till a couple of years ago everything was fixed rate. That
meant that if your broadband was a bit slow you might see a lot of
buffering when you were trying to watch a video - your PC was
trying to play something that it didn't quite have enough power to
Nowadays, with adaptive bit-rate technology, rather than
encoding and delivering the video content as a single fixed rate
stream, the source video is encoded into multiple streams at
varying rates from low to high. All these bit rates are then made
available for delivery to the end user.
Intelligence within the end users PC or mobile playback device
effectively "tests" the delivery bandwidth and the processing power
available, and selects the most appropriate bit rate for playback.
This test is performed every 2 seconds to ensure that we're sending
you the most appropriate stream. For an end-user the experience is
seamless and hopefully, buffer-free.
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