Newest Akamai Ion offers faster mobile and improved operational simplicity
Since its introduction, Akamai Ion, our flagship web performance solution has been delivering industry leading performance to users, wherever and however they choose to connect. On April 19th, Akamai will broadly announce the most capable and advanced version of Ion, that is designed to give your mobile and cellular users an even better experience, while helping you to reduce the complexity of building, deploying and maintaining online experiences.
These significant advancements focus on 2 key areas::
- Superior Mobile Performance – This release introduces new features that significantly help improve render time for mobile users with CSS optimizations, while reducing connection time with DNS preconnection for embedded third party services. These enhancements can help improve performance - particularly for cellular and mobile connections.
- Improved Operational Simplicity – This release improves the ability to configure and manage secure sites with self-provisioned certificates, while making it easier for customers to manage client-side performance configurations. We’ve also introduced greater visibility into “before” and ”after” configuration changes with improved RUM-based performance reports.
FASTER MOBILE PERFORMANCE
Reducing Render time for Mobile Experiences
This new release of Ion introduces several CSS optimizations designed to reduce render time, especially for users accessing mobile sites over cellular connections. Edge CSS (an extension of Akamai EdgeStart) is designed to prioritize CSS files to help the browser begin rendering sooner. Critical CSS can accelerate page rendering and improve user-perceived web performance by prioritizing the CSS files that will be immediately used to render the page to the user “above-the-fold”. Both of these improvements can help improve user perception and satisfaction with page load time.
Removing Third-Party Bottlenecks
Additionally, this Ion release introduces Preconnect, a feature that identifies the hostnames needed to completely load a page. By instructing the browser it to begin preconnecting to those hostnames, this expands DNS Prefetch to also include the establishment of TCP and TLS before the browser would normally request them. Doing this work early means the aggregate page can load faster and helps reduce the risk of slow third-party connection times. This is most impactful over cellular networks and other last mile connections with high round-trip times.
Akamai has enabled HTTP/2 support on our platform. HTTP/2 is the first new version of the fundamental Web protocol in over 10 years, and the culmination of over three years of effort as an industry leader. Akamai now supports customer traffic over HTTP/2 in order to help customers realize a better experience especially for mobile and cellular users - and now it’s available to all customers, across a broad range of products with secure traffic.
New “HTTP/2 aware” Performance Optimizations
Akamai was the first CDN to deliver customer traffic over HTTP/2 in order to help customers realize a better experience, especially for mobile users on bandwidth constrained networks. With the introduction of Ion 2.4, Akamai now offers “HTTP/2 aware” Front End Optimizations (FEO) to automatically squeeze the best performance out of every browser. This means browsers that support HTTP/2 will benefit from the new protocol, while older browsers will benefit from the appropriate Ion FEO features to realize a similar result. This capability ensures the best performance for each user, automatically, based on whether the user’s browser supports H/2 or H/1.x.
IMPROVED OPERATIONAL SIMPLICITY
Greater Control over Secure Sites
HTTPS is becoming a “de facto” standard for all web traffic… therefore businesses are increasingly leveraging SSL/TLS to help minimize the risk their users might otherwise be exposed to with unencrypted connections.
Ion has integrated with Akamai’s Certificate Provisioning System (or “CPS”) to support customers looking to self-request, provision, and fully manage the end-to-end lifecycle of SSL/TLS certificates and secure edge hostnames. This helps customers to save time and maintain control of the management of their secure traffic.
Putting More Configuration Control into Your Hands
Akamai is on a mission to deliver fully configured sites on the platform in the shortest time possible. Part of that effort includes making the platform as self-configurable as possible, with a minimum requirement for professional services.
With this release, Ion has simplified the process of provisioning resource domains, a requirement for FEO that stores the optimized images, JS and CSS. With this release, Property Manager (PAPI) will pre-populate and validate the necessary fields for provisioning a resource domain, which can dramatically improve usability.
Measuring the Impact of Akamai
In response to direct customer feedback, Akamai is extending its built-in Real User Monitoring (RUM) capability to provide greater visibility into their end-users’ experience. With this new RUM report, customers can now compare performance before and after implementing configuration changes in a single histogram-based graph to better understand specific performance scenarios.
Lowering the Cost of Entry for Secure Delivery
With the broad adoption of secure traffic as a means of delivering many different kinds of content, the need for low-cost certificate and deployment options is greater than ever.
Akamai-managed DV (Domain Validated) certificates are cost effective, self provisionable, and fully automated - and now they can be acquired from “Let’s Encrypt”, with interfaces built directly into Akamai’s portal. DV SAN is an ideal option for customers where speed of issuance and cost are important.
Additionally, the Akamai SNI certificate option is a cost effective alternative to each of the existing SSL/TLS offerings. Customers who select SNI options get all the benefits of the standard certificates, but at a lower price. SNI allows customers to deliver secure traffic without needing a dedicated IP address, which translates into lower cost for customers.
Ion customers will have access to all these new capabilities at no additional cost. When available, customers can begin using these features through the Luna Control Center, through APIs, or by contacting their account representative.