Netflix has no need for edge computing

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Dave Temkin, vice president of networks at Netflix, said there's no performance or cost benefit from edge computing. (Netflix)

Edge computing is an exciting cloud network advancement that can lower latency for live streaming video and cloud gaming. But Netflix doesn’t have much use for it.

At least that’s according to Dave Temkin, vice president of networks at Netflix. On Twitter, Temkin chimed in on a conversation about how wireless small cells for unlicensed bands are still in the slideware stage of production, meaning they’re still very much ideas on the drawing board. Temkin said that edge computing fit that description, too, and insisted that Netflix doesn’t have any interest in edge computing.

“For content delivery there is no performance or cost benefit (to either us or the network) to be gained by a few milliseconds and for the app we have put a lot of effort into making user interaction non latency sensitive,” Temkin tweeted.

Temkin’s comments may not completely represent Netflix’s feelings toward edge computing but they make sense because Netflix serves video on-demand. The minuscule amounts of delay that are posited as a benefit of edge computing are really more for live streaming events looking to get closer to broadcast quality, and streaming video games that can’t afford any lapse between action by the player and response from the game.

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But Temkin did go on to say that Netflix does have interest in robust 5G networks.

“Anything that delivers more, cheaper bandwidth to users is good for the internet and good for the world! We're further along in the marketing cycle than we are in the tech cycle, but tech will catch up,” Temkin said.

Regardless if a huge streaming media customer like Netflix is interested in edge computing, major CDN providers like Akamai are still banking on the edge to drive future service revenues.

During its third-quarter earnings call, Akamai touted its edge architecture consisting of 240,000 servers positioned in 3,900 locations in more than 1,000 cities across 143 countries.

“The core of the Internet just doesn't have the scale or proximity to end users and devices to keep up with ever increasing demands. The edge of the Internet is where our customers connect with their end users and that is where their digital experiences must be fast, intelligent, and secure,” said Akamai CEO Thomson Leighton, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.