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now TV Deploys F5’s Application Delivery Controller To Give Customers Optimal Video Streaming Services On-The-Go

now TV is Hong Kong’s leading pay-TV operator and one of the world’s largest commercial deployments of IPTV. It is a service provided by PCCW Media Limited in Hong Kong and delivers more than 180 channels of local, Asian and international programs. In particular, with the proliferation of mobile and tablet devices in this market, the company developed a media application for mobile users to stream programs while on the move. To date, the application has been downloaded more than million times by subscribers.

To meet the growing traffic and streaming service demands, now TV deployed F5’s Application Delivery Controller (ADC) solution to take a strategic approach to IT infrastructure planning. Today, now TV has successfully optimized their network, consolidating performance and security into existing infrastructure.

Business Challenges

now TV has expanded its OTT business in Hong Kong since 2012 The expansion in business created a significant surge in traffic, with user demand being spurred by mobile technology. This added strain to the company’s infrastructure, which was fast reaching its maximum capacity.

The need to expand IT infrastructure became acute to partner growth in business. To address this business concern, now TV started to look for a new platform that was flexible and scalable to manage high quality video streaming securely, without compromising the user experience, and contain infrastructure complexity to support future growth.

“We were looking for a future-proof solution that could handle a large stream of traffic, whilst ensuring security within existing infrastructure. Our top priority was to develop cross-platform access to meet customer expectations for mobile application streaming on any device, at any time. At the same time, we also wanted to ensure security threats were countered without compromising consumers’ satisfaction”, said Keith Huang, Vice President of Product Management at PCCW.

Without a unified approach to manage both streaming traffic and security rules, now TV would have to invest in additional hardware, engage with more vendors and manage more technology which was a strain for the business. 

Solution

now TV’s partnership with F5 spans more than a decade. The company first implemented F5’s BIG-IP® products for traffic load balancing and rapid application deployment. They added deployment of F5’s VIPRION 4480 to address a different set of business concerns to meet current market challenges and operational needs from OTT streaming.

As a result, the company successfully created an elastic ADC fabric that has the ability to adapt, scale and secure applications and data center.

Huang states, “F5 has always placed a strong emphasis on securing the application. Based on our selection criteria, it was the only provider that could meet our business requirements. We can now support large amounts of traffic on a daily basis and manage security policies, which reduces the overall complexity from our side”.

Benefits

Since deployment, the company has been able to manage and secure apps, reduce the number of servers and ADCs, improve reliability of applications. The company now has on-demand scalability to increase business flexibility and intelligence in network load balancing and access control.

With F5, the company has reduced the level of complexity involved with dealing with vendors and empowered to do more with less, reducing longer terms costs. For security measures, the IT department can rely on F5’s simple TcI-based scripting language called iRules® to write business logic into their network layer and customise access control for security against potential multi-layer cyberattacks during streaming.

Huang adds that, “We can now develop control integrated with now TV business rule engine in run-time. This helps IT to mitigate any access issues or security threats such as distributed denial-of-services attacks in the network. With iRules, IT can block attacks and safeguard subscribers when they’re streaming programs on their devices.”