How China Is Different (Part 2) — Cloud Infrastructure Networking
Join us at the Alibaba Cloud ACtivate Online Conference on March 5–6 to challenge assumptions, exchange ideas, and explore what is possible through digital transformation.
By Rosa Wang, Staff Solutions Architect
In our previous post, we talked about China’s consumer behavior and highlighted some of the key attributes that make them stand out from their global counterparts. In this post, we’ll be focusing on the networking aspect of things when it comes to hosting your website or running online business in China.
The network infrastructure in China is very unique.
China has several major Internet Service Providers (ISP) providers. The top 4 are: China Unicom, China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Education & Research Network (CERNET). China Tietong and Dr. Peng are also popular but considerably smaller. Connections that need to pass from one ISP to another are required to go through an Internet Exchange Point (IXP). Internet connection speed and reliability can vary based on the ISP and the ISP’s peering capabilities.
In China, IXP’s are very limited and can be very congested. This means that data being routed across the country may never reach the intended recipient. It’s important to consider this fact in your network design when deploying a website in China.
Alibaba Cloud offers unique BGP backbone network lines covering all provinces (23), autonomous regions (5), and municipalities (4) to guarantee fast, stable access across mainland China. The reason behind this is simple, we need to provide a consistent experience to our own users like Tmall, Taobao, Youku, Alipay and more. Alibaba Cloud connects to all Chinese ISPs through multiple BGP connections (>10 lines) allowing for high availability and eliminating the need for peering.
This network peering also creates a challenge for last-mile network performance. A content delivery network (CDN) is a common solution to accelerating last-mile network performance. A CDN is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers. The purpose is to provide high availability and high performance by distributing the service spatially relative to end-users. Alibaba Cloud CDN offers 1500 nodes to supports intelligent popularity calculation and hierarchical caching of frequently requested resources. In general, 95% of requests and traffic to a website goes to a CDN, so if the CDN is unstable, then an event like double 11 Singles Day is unsustainable.
China’s cross-border network infrastructure is also different.
Internet traffic from the US to Chinese hosted sites, as well as from China to US hosted sites, creates another challenge. The public Internet speed crossing the Chinese border can be slow. This can cause a poor user experience which may damage brand reputation, create user frustration and could result in the abandonment of certain websites. Alibaba Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN) offers a comprehensive set of virtual networking capabilities that provide customers with multi-region networking on the cloud. Whether operating from on premise data centers or from another cloud, CEN’s high-speed data relaying is critical for cloud to local IDC communication, or vice versa.
Speed matters. A high-performance website helps you recruit and retain customers and partners. 57% of website visitors will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Alibaba Cloud’s unique backbone network infrastructure, CDN and Cloud Enterprise Network can help you accelerate website performance, enhance user experience and improve employee productivity.
In the next post , I’ll cover several key points of China Internet security and compliance.