Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the global leader in content delivery network (CDN) services, today unveiled several major advances to Akamai Ion, the company’s flagship Web Performance Solution. Ion is designed to accelerate the delivery of websites, web applications and mobile apps – even over cellular connections. Users dissatisfied by slow web performance can lead to lost revenue opportunities for organizations. The new Ion release focuses on overcoming key problem areas, which can result in much faster experiences for all users.
Ion offers optimizations that are designed to address the challenges imposed by the realities of today’s modern web. For example, the prevalent use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in web design can result in poor mobile experiences because rendering web pages is dependent on when CSS files are delivered to browsers. Further, increasing amounts of third-party content, including links to social networks, advertising and sponsored content, can also create performance bottlenecks. The introduction of new web protocols and standards, such as HTTP/2, also means site owners will need to deliver content to all users and ensure the best possible experience independent of whether users’ browsers support these protocols or not.
To address the needs of both content owners and users, recent improvements to Ion include:
Enhanced Mobile Performance – Ion features a number of new capabilities designed to deliver better and more consistent mobile experiences by addressing the unique challenges associated with mobile devices such as cellular connections and underpowered devices. Ion offers improved browsing experiences by focusing on the ability to re-sequence CSS files, so that mobile audiences can view and interact with mobile web pages sooner, even over cellular connections. These features, Edge-CSS and Critical-CSS, take advantage of the intelligence inherent in Akamai’s globally-distributed computing platform to work in concert with mobile clients to render CSS files in the order that makes the most sense for the typical user.
Ion also introduces Preconnect to help prevent embedded third party URLs from becoming bottlenecks in web page performance by establishing connections with embedded third-party hosts even before the browser asks for those connections.
Better Performance with Advanced HTTP/2 Support – Akamai is committed to making better online experiences available to as many users as possible. As such, Akamai is now making HTTP/2 support broadly available to all customers – the first CDN to offer such broad availability of the new standard.
To help all users realize the best possible experience, the new version of Ion offers HTTP/2 aware Front End Optimizations (FEO). This means Ion can apply the most appropriate client-side performance optimizations whether the browser supports HTTP/2 or not – without the need for custom setup.
Reduced Complexity of Operations – Ease of use when integrating and iterating websites and applications using Ion is as important as the performance gains that can be achieved. Ion makes it simple to self-provision and configure cost-effective SSL/TLS certificates. Further, Akamai has refined Ion’s built-in Real User Monitoring (RUM) capabilities, including new reports which make it easy to monitor before/after performance. These capabilities are intended to help customers better understand how the changes they make to their sites are improving website and application performance.
“The web is in a constant state of evolution, and it’s our job to ensure that our customers have the right tools and technologies at their disposal to deliver the best experience – mobile or otherwise – to their end users,” explained Ash Kulkarni, senior vice president and general manager, Web Experience Business Unit, Akamai. “With Ion, we’re supporting the ever-increasing focus on ‘mobile first’ and helping our customers take advantage of the latest web technologies and protocols such as HTTP/2. And, as important, we’re allowing them to interact with Ion in the ways that make the most sense for their organizational needs.”
Ion is intended to help customers meet the specific challenges of always-connected audiences. Built on the globally distributedAkamai Intelligent Platform™, Ion is designed to simplify increasingly complex web and mobile site delivery, enabling a faster experience that is highly available, secure and scalable to meet peak demands.