Though the internet has been around since the ’70s, it wasn’t adopted by the public until the late ’90s. Prior to the internet being a “thing”, distance was a factor in commerce and communications. Most of its’ early existence was among academics, military contractors and researchers via email and newsgroups. But the web is the first experience most people had with the internet — rather than the intimidating text-only interfaces of Elm (a terminal email reader, if you’ve never had the pleasure) or Lynx (think a browser that only operated in text).

The concept of the internet as “flatting” came into vogue. In this case, the internet flattened distances — where you were in the world didn’t matter because of the practically free communications through the internet (instant messaging, texting and VoIP were just getting off the ground and nationwide long distance charges were still a consideration when making a call). Working from remote locations, once expensive was now a possibility. These services were grafted onto the exploding number of websites being put up, along with primitive videochat and on-demand video and audio.

Cloud networks, high availability or even services like AWS — let alone concepts like AWS failovers — just didn’t exist. The internet was just a bunch of servers scattered around the world, usually tied to academic or government institutions.

The web in 1998 was made up of about 1 million sites. In 2014 it was confirmed that there are now well over 1 billion sites. As more people got onto the internet, the infrastructure was built out with PoPs, data centers and runs of fiber that crisscrossed the world, an interesting thing happened. Distance mattered again.

While accessing content today is “fast” in terms of milliseconds,  especially considering the alternatives just 30 years ago, people’s expectations of “fast” have changed when it comes accessing web content. Studies from Akamai and show that users will leave sites that take longer than two seconds to load. About 80 percent of consumers who are shopping won’t come back, and many of them (44 percent) will tell their friends about the bad experience. Simply put – latency kills business opportunities.

How do sites and applications get fast? By deploying the application edge servers at data centers in geographic region where they have the highest concentration of end users. That’s where Anycast comes in and is different than caching static content, and also different than traditional DNS solutions that ties one IP address to one website address.  Anycast routes end user’s to pull information from the nearest edge server where the decisions are being made. This means that the path of the hosted site or service is shorter and faster using the best AS path. The experience is seamless to the user, who types in the same URL around the world and is delivered the site or service from the nearest server location.

Talk to us. Try it out for yourself. Contact NetActuate and you’ll get a one-on-one consultation about integrating Anycast into your services — even if you’re running AWS — connected directly to our global network of data centers. Let’s discuss a 30 day proof of concept for your application at [email protected].