Over the past 15 years, Content Delivery Network (CDN) services have been about one thing: delivering content, typically video and rich media, to end users on PCs. In 2013, however, businesses deliver a lot more than video streaming files to users and customers. Today they deliver complex websites; personalized and dynamic, non-cacheable data; e-commerce and other transaction-oriented workflows; complete mission-critical business applications; and secure enterprise services over the Web. And they deliver all these features and services using much more data to a lot more devices, on many different networks. To help you compete in today’s fast-changing business environment, a CDN needs to help you do all of these things, and more.

User expectations for website and app performance continue to rise. A recent study found that 70 percent of tablet users expect a web page to load within two seconds, and 46 percent of those users will switch to a competitor’s site if they feel their expectations are not being accommodated. Today, users expect comparable levels of performance on mobile devices, over mobile networks, a key metric given that mobile and tablets are the fastest-growing segments of the interactive user community.

Make sure your CDN is all that

On top of the crucial, but traditional, services they provide, here are five features you should demand from your CDN:

1. Front-End Optimization to quickly deliver small files that are part of almost every modern web page: CSS files, JavaScript and other scripting files, small graphics. Delivering these files quickly results in faster page loads, and happier customers.

2. Dynamic Site Acceleration to pre-fetch and utilize network tools to deliver data that typically is not cacheable, like personal account information, time-sensitive data, shopping cart contents. Your CDN should be helping you improve complex website and application performance.

3. Mobile Optimization to allow the fastest-growing segment of the Internet user population to find your site, your apps, and your content, while making sure it is delivered quickly and reliably over a variety of networks, and optimized for the devices being used, whether that’s a smartphone, a tablet, or any new, emerging devices making their way to the marketplace.

4. Enterprise Acceleration to ensure that the applications you run on servers behind the firewall, or in the cloud, are performing well for users outside those firewalls, virtually anywhere, on any IP-connected device. The performance of your enterprise applications for your employees, partners, vendors, and others is a key element in how they can contribute to your business, and your CDN should be helping to ensure that they are performing at the best possible levels.

5. IPv4 / IPv6 Dual Stacking, a topic I covered in a recent blog post, to give your IT team an important tool to manage the important transition to IPv6.

These are just a few key opportunities for your business to improve performance, save money, and drive new business and revenue through the smart use of your CDN.  How does your CDN measure up??