JAN 15, 2018 12:28 PM PST

Understanding the magic of Netflix


Did you know that during peak internet usage, Netflix accounts for 37% of all downstream internet traffic? Think of all that binge-watching that is happening all over the world. But how is Netflix able to send so many videos out into the world all at the same time?

Netflix uses a system called a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to store and transmit movies and TV shows. A CDN uses multiple redundant servers in locations all over the world to serve many geographic areas more quickly, to balance server loads between them, and to ensure that there will always be backups in case of an incident at one or several of the servers.

Netflix also works directly with some ISPs to install its own hardware called Open Connect Appliances so that the Netflix library is closer to your couch. Each Open Connect Appliance can hold up to 280 Terabytes, which is enough to cover almost the entire Netflix library. With this system, you connect to an appliance that is much closer than a far-away server would be, thus cutting down on latency and making it easier for you to stream House of Cards.

Still not sure how Netflix works its magic? Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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