WO2016041846A1 - Content delivery network - Google Patents

Content delivery network Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2016041846A1
WO2016041846A1 PCT/EP2015/070749 EP2015070749W WO2016041846A1 WO 2016041846 A1 WO2016041846 A1 WO 2016041846A1 EP 2015070749 W EP2015070749 W EP 2015070749W WO 2016041846 A1 WO2016041846 A1 WO 2016041846A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
content
client
indication
network
request
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP2015/070749
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Scott Finlayson
Paul REA
Ian Daniels
Original Assignee
British Telecommunications Public Limited Company
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GBGB1416437.0A priority Critical patent/GB201416437D0/en
Priority to GB1416437.0 priority
Application filed by British Telecommunications Public Limited Company filed Critical British Telecommunications Public Limited Company
Publication of WO2016041846A1 publication Critical patent/WO2016041846A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/60Network structure or processes for video distribution between server and client or between remote clients; Control signalling between clients, server and network components; Transmission of management data between server and client, e.g. sending from server to client commands for recording incoming content stream; Communication details between server and client 
    • H04N21/65Transmission of management data between client and server
    • H04N21/658Transmission by the client directed to the server
    • H04N21/6581Reference data, e.g. a movie identifier for ordering a movie or a product identifier in a home shopping application
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/16Service discovery or service management, e.g. service location protocol [SLP] or Web services
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/18Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications in which the network application is adapted for the location of the user terminal
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/20Servers specifically adapted for the distribution of content, e.g. VOD servers; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/23Processing of content or additional data; Elementary server operations; Server middleware
    • H04N21/239Interfacing the upstream path of the transmission network, e.g. prioritizing client content requests
    • H04N21/2393Interfacing the upstream path of the transmission network, e.g. prioritizing client content requests involving handling client requests
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/20Servers specifically adapted for the distribution of content, e.g. VOD servers; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/25Management operations performed by the server for facilitating the content distribution or administrating data related to end-users or client devices, e.g. end-user or client device authentication, learning user preferences for recommending movies
    • H04N21/254Management at additional data server, e.g. shopping server, rights management server
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/60Network structure or processes for video distribution between server and client or between remote clients; Control signalling between clients, server and network components; Transmission of management data between server and client, e.g. sending from server to client commands for recording incoming content stream; Communication details between server and client 
    • H04N21/63Control signaling related to video distribution between client, server and network components; Network processes for video distribution between server and clients or between remote clients, e.g. transmitting basic layer and enhancement layers over different transmission paths, setting up a peer-to-peer communication via Internet between remote STB's; Communication protocols; Addressing
    • H04N21/643Communication protocols
    • H04N21/64322IP

Abstract

Providing to a client an indication of a network location of a video content repository for delivery of content to the client, by processing a request for content including receiving via a communications network at a server, a request from a client for access to content; in which the request is associated with an indication of requested content; in which the request is associated with a source location in the communications network; determining from the request the source network location and deriving from the source network location the identity of a service provider, providing communications service to the client; determining a content repository selection on the basis of the identity of the service provider and the indication of requested content, in which the content repository selection indicates at least one content repository that comprises the requested content for delivery of the requested content to the client; and sending via a communications network to the client an indication of a content repository indicated in the selection.

Description

CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORK

INTRODUCTION

The invention relates to communications networks in general and to the management of content delivery in a communications network.

The on-demand TV market is becoming more complex with content providers proliferating content delivery networks (CDN) for the provision of content, for example video programming, to customers. There is an increasing need to be able to select between different CDNs, for providing content to a customer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the invention provides a method for processing a request for content, in which the method comprises: receiving via a communications network at a server, a request from a client for access to content; in which the request is associated with an indication of requested content and with a source location in the communications network; determining from the request the source network location and deriving from the source network location the identity of a service provider, providing communications service to the client; determining a content repository selection on the basis of the identity of the service provider and the indication of requested content, in which the content repository selection indicates at least one content repository that comprises the requested content for delivery of the requested content to the client; and sending via a communications network to the client an indication of a content repository indicated in the selection.

Hence, the invention enables a content service provider to correctly identify the appropriate content repository (e.g. content delivery network) for each request for content, based on the network location of the device making the request and on a service provider providing communications service to the client at that location. Selecting the most appropriate content repository according to the invention is distinct from the selection, internal to a content repository, of a cache for serving a customer.

According to an aspect of the invention, the service provider is an ISP. According to another aspect of the invention, the source location is a location of the client and may be part of a subnet.

The invention can cooperate with various forms of content repository. These may include, for example a CDN, a database, storage area network, or other online storage. According to a further aspect of the invention, the indication of the content repository comprises a network location of the content repository. According to a further aspect of the invention the content repository comprises a CDN. The indication of a content repository may comprise a pointer to an edge node of the CDN; the indication of a content repository may comprise an indication of the location within the CDN of the requested content.

The invention also provides a server comprising: a first communications interface for receiving from a client a request for content; a second communications interface for sending to a client an indication of a content repository for delivery of requested content to the client; and a processor configured to execute a software application to: determine, from a request received from the client via the first communications interface, an indication of the network location of the client;

identify, based on the network location of the client, a service provider providing communications service to the client;

identify based on the identity of the service provider, a content repository for delivery of the requested content to the client; and

send to the client via the second communications interface the indication of the content repository.

According to an aspect of the invention, the network location of the content repository may be provided to the client or the client may source the network location based on the supplied indication of the content repository. According to a further aspect of the invention, the first and second communications interfaces may be comprised in a single communications interface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the drawings in which:

Figures 1 and 3 show schematic representations of aspects of a communications network according to embodiments of the present invention;

Figure 2, 4 and 5 show sequence diagrams according to embodiments of the present invention; Figure 6 shows a block diagram of a computing device suitable for the operation of embodiments of the present invention;

Figure 7 shows a flowchart of a method of the CDN selection server 332 of Figure 3, in accordance with an aspect of the invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Figure 1 shows a high-level schematic representation of a communications network according to aspects of the present invention. A customer (not shown) may access internet data and services by means of a user terminal, e.g. fixed user terminal 1 10 or mobile user terminal 1 12. In the exemplary embodiment of Figure 1 , a user terminal, either fixed or mobile, can with the necessary authorisation access via internet 120 an internet service provider (ISP) 1 14, content service provider (CSP 132) 132 (such as the BT TV service provided by British Telecommunications pic, London, UK), and two or more CDNs 1 16, 1 18. CDNs 1 16, 1 18 are examples of content repositories, to which the invention applies and which may also comprise, for example a database, storage area network, or other online storage. The term "internet" is used throughout to indicate any globally routable TCP/IP network such as the Internet or alternatively a privately addressed WAN or point to point links.

ISP 1 14 typically provides one or more servers, through which a user can access various sources of information and services, such as electronic mail, online chat, file transfer, and the pages of the World Wide Web. A user will typically "sign-up" to an ISP, i.e. open an account with the ISP in order to get access to the internet. Among the services and sources of information accessible via internet 120 are CSP 132 and CDNs 1 16 and 1 18. CSP 132 controls access by users to content, particularly video and audio media, such as that available from CDNs 1 16, 1 18.

In more detail, each of mobile user terminal 1 12 and fixed user terminal 1 10 comprises a computing device (such as is shown in Figure 6) provided with a processor executing applications and other software components, including client 312 software (see 312 in Figure 3) for interworking with various servers accessed via internet 120. Mobile user terminal 1 12 will typically connect via a wireless access point 124 as part of a conventional wireless access network. Fixed user terminal 1 10 will typically connect via a router 126 as part of a conventional land-line access network. Client 312 will typically comprise a video viewing app (such the BT Sport app for Android) that provides a user with a program listing or program guide from which the user is able to select content for viewing. According to a further aspect of the invention, client 312 may typically comprise a browser in communication with a server of internet 120 able to interact as a web app with CSP 132 in a similar way to the app. For convenience, the term "app" will be used in the following to denote both app and web app. The app is programmed to detect a selection by the user of content from the program guide and to generate, in response to the selection, a request directed to the CSP 132 and including the identity of the content, the identity of the user and an indication of the network location of the user terminal. The video viewing app may be provided to the user by the CSP 132 as part of setting up of a user account to which the user will typically subscribe in order to get access to content provided by the CSP 132. In more detail, the video viewing app may be downloaded to the user's terminal by a service layer running on a CSP 132 server, such as CDN selection server 332.

Figure 2 shows sequences of actions relating to the communications network of Figure 1 , namely: client 312 retrieving content from different CDNs depending on the network location of the client 312. We first describe activity relating to a fixed client 312 running on fixed user terminal 1 10 located on a first, fixed network (1 10, 126). At 210, fixed client 312 issues a request to access content. The request is routed across the communications network to CSP 132. At 212, CSP 132 detects from examination of the request, the network location of the fixed client user terminal 1 10, e.g. an IP address or subnet. At 214, CSP 132 identifies the network location of the fixed client user terminal as a first network (or identifies the network location as corresponding to a network address or network address range that corresponds to the first network). At 216, CSP 132 retrieves details, including location information, of CDN1 suitable as a source of content for the fixed user terminal and at 218 sends these details via the communications network to fixed client 312. At 220, the fixed client 312 issues a request for content using CDN location information derived from CSP 132 and, at 222, CDN 1 responds to the request for content, sending the requested content to fixed client 312 across the communications network. We next describe activity relating to a client 312 located on a second, mobile network. At 230, a mobile client 312 running on mobile user terminal 1 12 located on a second, mobile network (1 12, 134), issues a request to access content. The request is routed across the communications network to CSP 132. At 232, CSP 132 detects from examination of the request, the network location of the mobile client user terminal 1 12, e.g. an IP address or subnet. At 234, CSP 132 identifies the network location of the mobile client user terminal as a second network (or at an address corresponding to the second network). At 236, CSP 132 retrieves details, including location information, of CDN2 suitable as a source of content for the mobile user terminal and at 238 sends these details of CDN2 via the communications network to the mobile client 312. At 240, the mobile client 312 issues a request for content using CDN location information derived from CSP 132 and, at 242, CDN 2 responds to the request for content, sending the requested content to mobile client 312 across the communications network.

Figure 3 shows parts of the communications network of Figure 1 in more detail, according to aspects of the present invention. In particular, Figure 3 shows a connection established via internet 120 between user terminal 310 (e.g. mobile user terminal 1 12 or fixed user terminal 1 10) and CSP 132. The connection is established between client 312 running on user terminal 310 and CDN selection server 332 - part of CSP 132. CDN selection server 332 (for example a Stingray traffic manager available from Riverbed Technology, San Francisco, California, USA), will receive and process requests for content from user terminal 310 and return an indication (such as a URL or network address) of a network location of a suitable CDN. In processing a request, CDN selection server 332 will determine the network location of the user terminal (e.g. by reading a source address field in the received request for content) and will obtain the network location of a CDN appropriate to the network location of the requesting user terminal. CDN selection server 332 accesses a database or look-up table, such as that stored in memory in configuration file 334. Configuration file 334 facilitates searches based on the network location of a user terminal acting as source of the request (e.g. such as may be indicated by the IP address of the user terminal or the subnet in which the user terminal is located). A simplified schematic of a suitable configuration file is shown in the following table:

Source service provider

1 . 1 1 1 .222.33.0/24 BT

2. 133.144.66.0/26

3. 122.133.44.0 Verizon

Table 1 : Configuration File On establishing a "hit" in configuration file 334, CDN selection server 332 may be able to determine the identity of a suitable CDN. Once in possession of this information, CDN selection server 332 is able to share the network location of a suitable CDN with the client 312 of the user terminal. According to the example shown in line 1 of the above table, if a request for content is received from a user terminal located at an address that falls within IP subnet 1 1 1 .222.33.0/24, information relating to the identity of the service provider serving that user network location (i.e. an ISP provided by British Telecommunications pic, London, UK) may be read direct from the configuration file. In such cases, CDN selection server 332 can send an enquiry message to CDN retrieval server 336, which has access to a database 338 comprising mappings from known ISPs to suitable CDNs and details, e.g. URLs, relating to the network location of the CDNs. CDN database 338 may, typically, be loaded with information provided by one or more CSP 132. By way of example, a BT CDN could be indicated by a URL pointing to an edge server of the BT CDN, such as: http://edgenet.wcc.com/path/to/file. Similarly, an Akamai CDN could be indicated by a URL pointing to an edge server of the Akamai CDN, e.g.: http://edgenet.akamai.com/path/to/file. Here "path/to/file" represent one or more parameters identifying a path to a location within the respective CDN at which the desired content is stored. These parameters may be read and interpreted by the CDN edge server to which the request URL points. In this case, the edge server will direct the request to the relevant location within the CDN, as indicated by the parameters.

It should be noted that the source location may represent the location of an originating client 312 or the location of a proxy, depending on the topology of the communications network, e.g. client 312 may use an intermediary for forwarding requests for content. According to a further embodiment, CDN selection server 332 can generate a CDN selection that indicates more than one suitable CDN. The identity of the CDN, whose details are shared with client 312 may then be selected from the CDN selection on the basis of one or more further criteria. For example, CDN selection server 332 may examine the request for information on the requested content and select, based on what content is being requested, one CDN from the CDN selection for notification to client 312.

According to the example shown in line 2 of the above table, if a request for content is received from a user terminal that falls within IP subnet 133.144.66.0/26, no information relating to the identity of the content provider serving that user network location is immediately available. In such cases (and also at regular intervals), CDN selection server 332 can request an update for configuration file 334 from computer memory (e.g. shared network drive 340) shared by components of CSP 132. Shared network drive 340 can respond to the request received from CDN selection server 332 by sending up-to-date mappings, i.e. information on the correspondence between user terminal network locations and service providers, such as ISPs. The information in shared network drive 340 is kept up to date as described later. For example, shared network drive 340, may inform CDN selection server 332 that network locations within IP subnet 133.144.66.0/26 are served by ISP PlusNet. On receipt of this information, CDN selection server 332 can then send an enquiry message to CDN retrieval server 336 and, as described above, receive details, including the network location of a suitable CDN.

According to the example shown in line 3 of the above table, if a request for content is received from a user terminal located at IP address 122.133.44.0, information relating to the identity of the service providers (e.g. Verizon ISP) serving that user network location may be read direct from the configuration file. As before, CDN selection server 332 obtains from CDN retrieval server 336 details, including the network location of a suitable CDN. Once in possession of this information, CDN selection server 332 is able to share with the client 312, the network location of a suitable CDN for supply of content to the user terminal (for example, a CDN provided by Akamai Technologies, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA).

We now describe how the information in shared network drive 340, i.e. information on the correspondence between user terminal network locations and service providers, may be kept up to date. A prime source of network addressing and topology information is network management server 342, which is a network server or plurality of network of servers configured by a communication service provider to manage a communications network, for example a communication network providing connectivity for internet 120. As part of this role, network management server 342 periodically provides (e.g. via a border gateway protocol feed) up-to-date information on mappings between service providers and CDNs to network mapping collation (or synch script) server 346. Mapping collation server 346 also receive input from mapping control server 348, which acts to override settings in an ISP mapping collation stored on mapping collation server 346, so as to change network routing behaviour, for example by steering requests for content to a different CDN.

Figures 4 shows sequences of actions relating to updating configuration file 334 in the communications network of Figure 3. Turning to Figure 4, network updates are achieved as follows. At 410, network management server 342 sends current ISP mapping information (i.e. mappings linking client 312 IP addresses with ISPs) or notifications of changes to previous mappings, to network mapping collation server 346. At 412, network mapping collation server uses the information received from network management server 342 to update its record of mappings. As described above, network mapping collation server 346 has more than one source of ISP mapping information, which is collated to provide a set of ISP mapping information aimed at obtaining desired network routing behaviour. At 424, network mapping collation server 346 sends a request to mapping control server 348 to check for any ISP mapping information that is to be modified or deleted. Mapping control server 348 responds at 426 with mapping override information and network mapping collation server 346 carries out a comparison at 428 of ISP mapping information currently stored and mapping override information received from mapping control server 348. Where inconsistencies are detected, network mapping collation server 346 collates at 430 ISP mapping information from each source and produces an updated version of ISP mapping information, which up-to-date information is stored (432), e.g. in configuration table 334, at shared network drive 340.

Figure 5 shows two sequences of activity centred on CDN selection server 332, namely: periodic loading of new mapping data (e.g. in the form of configuration table 334) and processing of a user-request for content. At 510 CDN selection server 332 sends a request to shared network drive 340 for up- to-date mapping data. At 512 shared network drive 340 provides to CDN selection server 332 the requested mapping data, for example in the form of a revised configuration table 334. At 514 CDN selection server 332 receives the requested mapping data and updates its records accordingly. We now turn to processing of a user-terminal request. At 520, CDN selection server 332 receives via the communications network a request from a client 312 of a user terminal for access to content. The request for content is associated with an indication of a location in the communications network associated with the user terminal.

CDN selection server 332 comprises a computing device, such as is shown in Figure 6, provided with a processor for executing applications and other software components, including one or more applications for implementing the method illustrated in Figures 5a and 5b. CDN selection server 332 processes at 522 the request for content to determine the source network location and to derive, based on the source network location (e.g. by referring to configuration file 334), the identity of an ISP providing communications service to the client 312 over the communications network. At 524, an enquiry comprising the identity of the ISP is forwarded to CDN retrieval server 336, which responds at 526 with information on the identity of a CDN suitable as a source of content for the user terminal that originated the request. The CDN selection server 332 determines from the response (and thereby, indirectly on the basis of the identity of the ISP), a CDN selection, i.e. the identity of one or more CDNs that are viewed as suitable as sources of content for the user terminal that originated the request. CDN selection server 332 then provides at 528 to the client 312 an indication of a network location (such as a URL, URI, IP address or other form of network address) of a CDN indicated in the selection. On receipt from CDN selection server 332 of the CDN network location indication, the client 312 directs a request for content, e.g. using a web-browsing protocol, to the indicated CDN location. Where a CDN URL is provided by CDN selection server 332, the CDN URL is translated into the network address of the appropriate CDN by a suitable domain name server (DNS) operation. Where the CDN is configured to route requests for content via an edge server, the indicated CDN location will be the location of the edge server of a CDN indicated in the selection. According to an alternative aspect of the invention, CDN selection server 332 sends to client 312 an indication of the identity of a suitable CDN but without information on the location of the CDN. According to this aspect, client 312 uses the indication of identity to obtain an indication of network location for the CDN, for example by querying a remote database via internet 120. On receipt from the remote database, or another source, of the CDN network location indication, client 312 directs a request for content, e.g. using a web-browsing protocol, to the indicated CDN location.

As indicated, above, the request for content may be associated with an indication of requested content, e.g. a specific film, coverage of a specific sporting event or a TV programme. According to a further embodiment, CSP 132 processes the request for content to determine the content requested and determines, from the CDN selection arrived at as described above, the identity of a CDN for delivery of the requested content to the client 312 in part on the basis of the content requested. For example, CDN selection may be based on requested content in terms of the size, title, genre, distributor, etc. of the content. For example, requests may be routed to different CDNs based in part on the size of content requested or how heavily loaded various CDNs are and, therefore, how able they are to cope with provision of the requested content. For example, CSP 132 may poll various CDNs from time to time in order to ascertain how heavily loaded they are. In another example, CSP 132 may acquire (e.g. from network management server 342) information indicating which of a plurality of network connections from various CDNs to a user terminal is best able to cope with transfer of selected content to that terminal. Further examples include the case where a user may not have access rights to a particular CDN and the case where a CDN may be denied access to certain content, for example where the CDN is viewed as being insufficiently secure. In such cases it is then necessary to route requests for content to an appropriate CDN that hosts the requested content or which the user has authorisation to access.

Figure 6 shows a computer system 60 in accordance with the disclosed embodiments. Computer system 60 may correspond to an apparatus that includes a processor 610, memory 612, storage 614, user interface 616 and communications interface 618 and/or other components found in electronic computing devices. Computer system 60 may also include input/output devices (not shown) such as a keyboard, a pointing device and a display communicating with processor 610 via user interface module 616. Computer system 60 may also, via communications interface module 618 (which may comprise a plurality of network interfaces), be connected to or have the capability for connection to one or more communications network, such as a wired, wireless or hybrid LAN, WAN or internet (for example internet 120 of Figure 1 ).

Figure 7 shows a flowchart of a method for execution on a selection server, such as CDN selection server 332, for processing a request for content received from a user terminal and for determining the network location of a CDN suitable for providing the requested content, according to an aspect of the invention. At 712 a selection server receives a request from a client 312 of a user terminal for access to content. At 714 the selection server processes the request to determine the source network location, i.e. the network location of the user terminal. At 718 the selection server derives from the source network location the identity of a service provider providing communications service to the client 312. At 720 the selection server forwards to a CDN retrieval server an enquiry for information on the identity of a CDN suitable as a source of content for the user terminal. At 732 the selection server receives a response from the CDN retrieval server. At 734 the selection server determines from the response the identity of one or more CDNs suitable as sources of content for the user terminal. At 726 the CDN selection server 332 sends to the client 312 an indication of a network location of a CDN indicated in the selection. Alternatively, the CDN selection server 332 sends to the client 312 an indication of a CDN identity, which the client 312 uses to obtain a network location for the CDN, for example by querying a remote database via internet 120.

The egress point from user terminal to the internet may be some form of router, modem/router or NTE, Short Haul Data Services (SHDS) - i.e. Ethernet point to point - or LAN addressable from the user terminal. The link by which the fixed user terminal is able to access the destinations over the internet may, for example use Wi-Fi technology. When using WiFi technology, information is transmitted via an IEEE 802.1 1 connection to a wireless access point which has connection to the internet. The wireless access point could, for example, be a BT HomeHub or other ADSL router with a built in wireless access point. This wireless connection could be used to access the CDN selection server 332 via TCP/IP.

The link by which the mobile user terminal is able to access destinations over the internet may, for example, use GPRS technology. When using GPRS technology, information may be transmitted via a GPRS data connection in 2G/3G/4G, LTE/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA/HSDPA+ or similar using a GPRS modem to a cellular telephony mast which has a connection to the internet. The GPRS data connection would then be used to access the CDN selection server 332 over the internet using TCP/IP.

Insofar as embodiments of the invention described are implementable, at least in part, using a computing device such as shown in Figure 6 (i.e. a software-controlled programmable processing device, such as a microprocessor, digital signal processor or other processing device, data processing apparatus or system), it will be appreciated that a computer program for configuring a programmable device, apparatus or system to implement the foregoing described methods is envisaged as an aspect of the present invention. The computer program may be embodied as source code or undergo compilation for implementation on a processing device, apparatus or system or may, for example, be embodied as object code. Suitably, the computer program is stored on a carrier medium in machine or device readable form, for example in solid-state memory, magnetic memory such as disk or tape, optically or magneto-optically readable memory such as compact disk or digital versatile disk etc., and the processing device utilises the program or a part thereof to configure it for operation. The computer program may be supplied from a remote source embodied in a communications medium such as an electronic signal, radio frequency carrier wave or optical carrier wave. Such carrier media are also envisaged as aspects of the present invention.

It will be understood by those skilled in the art that, although the present invention has been described in relation to the above described example embodiments, the invention is not limited thereto and that there are many possible variations and modifications which fall within the scope of the invention.

The scope of the present invention includes any novel features or combination of features disclosed herein. The applicant hereby gives notice that new claims may be formulated to such features or combination of features during prosecution of this application or of any such further applications derived therefrom. In particular, with reference to the appended claims, features from dependent claims may be combined with those of the independent claims and features from respective independent claims may be combined in any appropriate manner and not merely in the specific combinations enumerated in the claims.

Claims

A method for processing a request for content, in which the method comprises:
receiving via a communications network at a server, a request from a client for access to content;
in which the request is associated with an indication of requested content;
in which the request is associated with a source location in the communications network;
determining from the request the source network location and deriving from the source network location the identity of a service provider, providing communications service to the client;
determining a content repository selection on the basis of the identity of the service provider and the indication of requested content, in which the content repository selection indicates at least one content repository that comprises the requested content for delivery of the requested content to the client; and
sending via a communications network to the client an indication of a content repository indicated in the selection.
The method of claim 1 , in which the service provider is an ISP.
The method of any one of claims 1 to 2, in which the indication of the content repository comprises a network location of the content repository.
The method of any one of claims 1 to 3, in which the content repository comprises a CDN.
5. The method of claim 4, in which the indication of a content repository comprises a pointer to an edge node of the CDN.
6. The method of any one of claims 4 to 5, in which the indication of a content repository comprises an indication of the location within the CDN of the requested content. The method of any one of claims 1 to 6, in which the source location is a location of the client.
The method of any one of claims 1 to 7, in which the source location is part of a subnet.
The method of any above claim, in which the requested content comprises at least one of a feature film, a TV program, coverage of a sporting event, coverage of a news event.
A server comprising:
a first communications interface for receiving from a client a request for content;
a second communications interface for sending to the client an indication of a content repository for delivery of requested content to the client;
a processor configured to execute a software application to:
determine, from a request received from the client via the first communications interface, an indication of the network location of the client;
identify, based on the network location of the client, a service provider providing communications service to the client;
identify based on the identity of the service provider, a content repository for delivery of the requested content to the client; and send to the client via the second communications interface the indication of the content repository.
The server of claim 10 , in which the service provider is an ISP.
The server of any of one of claims 10 and 1 1 , in which the indication of the content repository comprises a network location of the content repository.
13. The server of any of one of claims 10 to 12, in which the first and second communications interfaces comprise a single communications interface. 14. A non-transitory computer-readable storage medium storing a computer program or suite of computer programs which upon execution by a computer system performs the method of any of claims 1 to 9.
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