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Navigating the Complexities of Web Hosting and Content Delivery Networks

Navigating the Complexities of Web Hosting and Content Delivery Networks

Key Strategies for Enhancing Your Online Presence Through Superior Hosting and CDNs

Choosing a hosting provider or CDN is a pivotal decision that transcends mere operational considerations, touching on the essence of your online strategy. Prioritizing speed, reliability, and architectural resilience in this decision-making process is imperative for businesses aiming to secure and expand their digital footprint in an increasingly competitive market. Milano Ventures’ WorldDirector technology addresses all these issues.

In the era where digital agility defines market leadership, understanding the symbiotic relationship between high-speed web and application hosting, alongside advanced WorldDirector Content Delivery Network (CDN), is more than necessarily a competitive advantage. This exploration delves into the essence of selecting the right hosting provider or CDN, a decision that significantly impacts the efficiency of content delivery. The complexity of this choice is heightened by the prevalent issue of low-cost options, which, while attractive at a glance, harbour limitations and hidden risks that could undermine your digital presence.

The Hidden Costs of Budget Hosting Solutions

Economical hosting solutions, characterized by consolidating cloud and DNS services on singular server farms, present a deceptive allure. While initially appealing, this cost-saving approach carries inherent risks, notably the peril of a single point of failure. Such a scenario can precipitate extensive service interruptions, affecting critical operations from website accessibility to consistent email communication. It’s a stark reminder that the cheapest option is not always synonymous with value, especially when the stakes include your online visibility and operational continuity.

DNS: The Foundation of Your Digital Identity

At the heart of a resilient online presence is a robust Domain Name System (DNS) underpinned by a globally distributed network of application servers. This foundational framework is indispensable for delivering rapid and reliable cloud services, crucial for maintaining an uninterrupted online presence. Redundancy is the linchpin in this architecture, serving as a bulwark against network failures and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. A diversified hosting strategy spanning multiple locations and several autonomous systems, is essential for minimizing the risk of downtime, thus ensuring a seamless user experience.

Redundancy: Your Safeguard Against Downtime

The annals of internet service providers are replete with tales of outages, often traced back to overlooked single points of failure. Enlightened cloud service providers counter this vulnerability by deploying multiple DNS servers dispersed across diverse network segments and geographical areas. This strategy enhances system resilience, safeguarding against failures at any singular point within the network. Adopting redundant DNS servers is not just a technical requirement but a strategic investment in reliability and trustworthiness.

The Dual Edges of Anycast DNS Services

Though potentially more costly, anycast DNS services offer a strategic advantage by routing user requests to the nearest server, optimizing speed and reducing latency. This approach, while effective, necessitates a careful analysis of cost versus performance benefits. It represents a shift from traditional DNS setups, promising enhanced efficiency but requiring a nuanced understanding of its application and potential impact on your digital strategy.

Navigating the Complexities of Anycast DNS Services

While Anycast DNS services offer distinct advantages in reducing latency by directing user requests to the nearest server, they often operate within the confines of single Autonomous Systems (AS), typically relying on a single provider. Although beneficial for speed and efficiency, this configuration introduces a critical vulnerability. Should there be routing issues or disruptions within the Anycast routers, the entire system becomes susceptible to single points of failure. This potential weakness underscores the importance of a comprehensive evaluation when considering Anycast DNS for your digital infrastructure. It’s a potent reminder that while technology can offer enhanced performance capabilities, it also requires careful consideration of its inherent limitations and the possible impact on service reliability.

Scalability: Preparing for Peak Traffic

The challenges experienced by platforms like HealthCare.gov, which faltered under the weight of excessive traffic, underscore the critical importance of scalable online application engineering. The ability to dynamically scale server resources and distribute application loads across servers in various geographical locations is pivotal in mitigating latency and preventing data loss. This adaptive approach ensures continuity and efficiency, even during unexpected traffic surges or individual server failures.

Global Distribution: The Key to Uninterrupted Service

Expanding the geographical spread of servers facilitates effective load balancing and significantly enhances the system’s overall reliability. In scenarios where specific servers or network segments encounter failures, a globally distributed load-balancing architecture like WorldDirector guarantees uninterrupted service availability as long as at least one server remains operational. This global perspective transcends traditional load-balancing or passive CDN solutions, which typically rely on a single origin server and are inadequate for the dynamic demands of today’s digital landscape.

Embracing Automation in Server Management

The transition towards fully automated server management, necessitating minimal human intervention beyond initial setup, marks a significant evolution in hosting technology. Advanced global load-balancing mechanisms, exemplified by systems like WorldDirector, embody this shift, offering a fully redundant and distributed DNS framework complete with content acceleration capabilities.

This automation enhances operational efficiency and significantly reduces the potential for human error, ensuring a more reliable and consistent online presence.

Read more about WorldDirector on our website.

Wornex Professional Audio & Radio Streaming platform

Wornex Professional Audio & Radio Streaming platform

Wornex Professional Radio Streaming Platform

Integrating the sophisticated features of the Wornex Radio Streaming Professional Control Panel solution into your audio streaming journey offers a transformative approach to broadcasting. This platform enriches audio streaming by adding in-depth capabilities for playlist management, live broadcasting, and advanced scheduling, ensuring a seamless and professional streaming experience.

Advanced Playlist Management

Wornex’s control panel solution makes curating and organizing playlists a breeze. Users can effortlessly create dynamic playlists that cater to different audience preferences, ensuring a varied and engaging listening experience. This feature allows for the seamless integration of music, jingles, promos, and ads, making your stream sound professional and polished.

Live Broadcasting Flexibility

The Wornex Radio Streaming Professional platform elevates your streaming capabilities by supporting live broadcasting from various locations, including studios or on-site events. This flexibility enables broadcasters to offer live content, such as interviews, concerts, or real-time discussions, adding a personal touch and immediacy to your broadcasts that listeners love.

Milano Ventures professional streaming control panel

Scheduling and Automation

Scheduling content has never been easier, thanks to Wornex’s sophisticated automation tools. Broadcasters can plan their content distribution meticulously, ensuring that the right content airs optimally. Whether it’s news at the top of the hour or specific music genres during certain times of the day, the control panel handles it all.

Global Reach with CDN

Leveraging WorldDirector Content Delivery Network (CDN), the Wornex Radio Streaming solution ensures your broadcasts can handle high traffic volumes without sacrificing quality. This global reach means your radio station can attract and maintain a worldwide audience, offering uninterrupted streaming even during peak times.

Interactive and Engaging Features

Wornex’s Radio Streaming platform also includes interactive features like widgets for website integration, making it easier for your audience to tune in and engage with your content. This user-friendly approach enhances the listener experience and supports audience growth and retention.

By adopting the Wornex Radio Streaming Professional Control Panel, broadcasters can significantly upgrade their audio streaming capabilities, offering their audience a richer, more engaging, and professional broadcasting experience.

5 secrets to fast and reliable cloud services

5 secrets to fast and reliable cloud services

5 secrets to fast and reliable cloud services

We often come across low-cost, low-grade competitors who offer cloud and free-bundled DNS services out of a single server farm or, even worse, providing DNS services hosted on the same server or the same network, sometimes even at the end of a very remote xDSL line. Under these conditions, using a single location for a DNS system, long latency and any temporary network failure cause disruption of all services for a domain, including the potential loss of email.

Milano Ventures distributed and redundant storage

A good Domain Name System (DNS) and a network of globally distributed application servers help build fast and reliable cloud services.

  1. When looking for an always-on internet solution, the ideal is to use redundancy to protect against network failures and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. This usually means using redundant DNS and servers hosted at different locations, possibly routed by other AS (Autonomous Systems). Downtimes with significant cloud and CDN providers often occur because their systems are not designed to survive a single point of failure inherent in their architecture.
  2. Any cloud service provider should offer their clients multiple (more than two, redundant DNS servers on different network segments and at various physical locations, with inherent redundancy in all potential single points of failure. Anycast DNS services can also be a more expensive (sometimes less effective) solution to this problem.
  3. Do you remember the notorious technological problems of HealthCare.gov (the US President Obama Health Insurance Marketplace)? When too many users access an application simultaneously (i.e. any line application or a web server), the server or the network may become overloaded. The result is increased latency (slow or no response) and potential data loss. By carefully engineering online applications so that the number of servers can be dynamically increased, the application load and the number of users may be distributed among different servers at various geographical locations, and more transactions can be managed simultaneously. On the other hand, when a single data centre or server fails or if a router or the network is overloaded, all online services will become slow or unreachable.
  4. By increasing the number of geographical locations where multiple origin servers are hosted, it is also possible to “load balance” and improve the reliability of the whole system. If one or more servers or network segments fail, a globally distributed load-balancing system will continue to provide service until there is at least one server online. To this extent, the most common load-balancing or passive CDN solutions relying on a single origin server are invalid.
  5. Configuration and de-configuration of servers in case of network or server problems should be fully automatic and require little or no human intervention after initial set-up. A global load-balancing mechanism like WorldDirector provides a fully redundant and distributed DNS system,m including content acceleration.
WorldDirector multicloud architecture

WorldDirector multicloud architecture

WorldDirector in a multicloud architecture

Moving to a multi-cloud environment is a big decision that requires careful consideration of the pros and cons and a thorough evaluation of your organisation’s readiness. The benefits of cost savings, resiliency, and new feature enhancements are undeniable, but it’s essential to understand the challenges and limitations of an immersive environment before making a movie. With the proper planning and assistance from cloud providers, organisations can successfully migrate to an amulti-cloudd climate.

Multi-cloud architectures, in which different cloud providers host multiple services, are becoming increasingly popular among organisations.

According to Eurostat, 41% of enterprises in the European Union used cloud computing in 2021. Hosting in the cloud can save on initial infrastructure, planned and unexpected maintenance, and operational costs. However, there are challenges and complexities associated with adopting a multi-cloud architecture that organisations should consider.

Challenges in multi-cloud migration

One of the organisations’ most significant challenges when migrating to the cloud is choosing the right platform. Sometimes, the choice is made for them, for example, when certain outsourced services work only with certain cloud providers. In other cases, organisations had become locked into using a specific cloud vendor when applications were first moved to the cloud. Another challenge associated with running a multi-cloud architecture centres on security. Organisations need to apply a consistent security policy across all cloud platforms compatible with the security policy of internal systems. This can be challenging because different cloud providers have other security protocols.

Milano Ventures’ WorldDirector technology as a fully-managed multi-cloud enabler

Milano Ventures Ltd help managers and leaders understand the challenges of migrating to and securing a multi-cloud infrastructure. Our technology,y called WorldDirector, is offered as a fully managed service across distributed private and public clouds. It operates natively on multi-cloud environments, including proprietary and secure “edge” technologies designed to secure and protect the client’s data and applications.

WorldDirector as globally distributed , self resilient multicloudOverall, a multi-cloud architecture can provide many benefits for an organisation but also comes with challenges. Choosing the right platform and ensuring a consistent security policy across all cloud platforms are two key considerations organisations must consider when migrating to a multi-cloud infrastructure.

Benefits of moving to a multi-cloud infrastructure

The future of IT projects is in the cloud, and the benefits of cost savings, resiliency, and new feature enhancements that organisations realise by moving to the cloud are too great to ignore. However, moving to the cloud and a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environment differs. Milano Ventures Ltd helps small and large organisations evaluate which strategy suits their applications.

When deciding whether to move to a multi-cloud environment, weighing the pros and cons is essential. The first step is to examine where the application currently sits. Is it hosted in a data centre managed by your organisation, colocated, or is it already hosted in a cloud provider’s data centre? Many organisations start by moving their application to a single cloud provider first to understand the experience and the challenges associated with cloud migration.

Milano Ventures multi-cloud consulting services

Another essential factor is how much control your team will surrender to the cloud providers. Cloud providers offer a range of services, from the most basic, in which the cloud provider provides hardware and a range of IP addresses, all the way up to a fully managed service. The service you choose is also a budgetary matter. The more cloud provider services you use, the greater the costs.

It’s also essential to determine how quickly your provider installs patches and to thoroughly document code and dependencies before moving to a multi-cloud environment. It would help if you also demanded the same from your cloud providers. You must fully understand the organisation’s services, the cloud providers’ patching cycles, and how to get support if something goes wrong.

Milano Ventures multicloud migration consultingDesigning for a multi-cloud infrastructure often means redesigning your application to accommodate a more complex networking and infrastructure environment. At Milano Ventures Ltd., we have developed our multi-cloud technology so that such modifications are often unnecessary, as WorldDirector can be transparent to users and application data.

We have architects on staff who can help answer any questions from your team and offer tips to make the migration process smoother. Cloud architects are a valuable and expensive resource for many organisations, so often, it pays to have these competencies outsourced when evaluating a migration to a multi-cloud platform.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more details.

What is WorldDirector?

What is WorldDirector?

What is WorldDirector?

WorldDirector is a fully managed Internet cloud technology used to create globally distributed, geographically load-balanced private and public clouds or Content Delivery Networks (CDN) designed to accelerate content from enterprise (private cloud) and public cloud data centres to remote clients at the edge of the Internet. WorldDirector is the first-ever technology of this kind, developed in 1994 and deployed since 1995.

In 1994, the WorldDirector design’s original aim was to overcome the effects of a massive earthquake that would keep Silicon Valley servers out of reach for several weeks.

WorldDirector has evolved into a modular product and is offered as a service (PaaS, IaaS), optionally with open source or custom applications (SaaS). It also includes content acceleration by HTTP compression, antivirus, anti-malware, anti-trojans, anti-worm, anti-crypto lockers filters and DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) protection local and global load balancing, intrinsic disaster recovery by active and passive data duplication across several data-centres. WorldDIrector may also be used to provide an effective and inexpensive solution to disaster recovery and can be bundled to offer cloud services, such as hosting, colocation, email services, DNS, data archives, backups, and audio and video streaming.

WorldDirector was nominated for the IST Prize

IST Prize nomination

In 2003, the European IST prize selected WorldDirector as a “European IST Prize Nominee”. The European IST Prize was the most distinguished award for innovative European IT products. Selection criteria for the prize included technical excellence, creative content, potential market impact, capacity to generate employment, contribution to the acceptance and understanding of IST in society, and likely social impact.

From the product perspective, WorldDirector ensures that Internet connectivity is the most efficient and reliable on the market at the best cost of ownership. WorldDirector can enable any site or Internet application. All that is needed is that one of our Linux devices containing WorldDirector hardware and software is placed close to the customer’s server and/or at the ISP’s Web farm. WorldDirector does not require any ‘extra’ software installed on the Client software or the client-server side. There is no ‘Plug-in’ at the server or client end, nor any modification to the server application needed.

WorldDirector is currently available under license or as a fully managed service, including hardware and software to install a complete WorldDirector CDN solution. It is open to host end-user applications, ISPs, and corporate accounts. WorldDirector is offered at Wornex data centres in Europe, the USA and Asia (including as an option AWS, Google and Azure cloud locations) and provides service to 300+ websites, B2B & B2C applications, portals and streaming services on behalf of customers in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.

WorldDirector as globally distributed , self resilient multicloud

Which innovative features does WorldDirector provide?

In 2015, WorldDirector was re-developed into a modular product and included the following features:

  • Edge caching for Internet servers and applications, regardless of protocol (HTTP, FTP, TCP/IP, UDP, etc.);
  • Multimedia streaming (audio & video) enabler from multiple locations to bring multimedia content close to the edge of the Internet and to the end-user;
  • HTTP content acceleration via standard IETF Content-Encoding to any Web site, regardless of the server’s operating system, HTTP origin server or type of Internet application;
  • Static and dynamic web server accelerator: adds scalability at a lower cost to any web portal or application. Offers more than 40 times increased performance for dynamic portals, with more than 200 concurrent accesses.
  • Global and local load balancing: this will automatically reduce response time under high load and significantly reduce the burden on the origin website. Compared to other systems, more edge servers are not required. Each WorldDirector node’s cost is a fraction of the origin Web server in the case of large portals. For smaller sites, each WorldDirector node may be shared among different websites;
  • Protection against Internet Worms & DDOS by filtering undesired requests to the origin server, protecting crosssite scripting vulnerability and uploading malware to origin servers. This may be especially useful to avoid situations of network congestion and breakdowns such as those created by the internet worms, most types of attacks and similar;
  • Automatic Disaster Recovery for any Web site, multimedia archive or FTP site: any content available via “GET” (including dynamic portals) may be made available from any WorldDirector node when the origin Web site is unavailable;
  • Automatic configuration and de-configuration of each WorldDirector node when servers are down and up again. Any server can be brought down for maintenance, or any network segment can fail without disrupting service until at least one WorldDirector node is reachable. This mechanism is transparent to end-users, applications, and administrators. It does NOT depend on any master/enslaved person and has NO central point of failure characteristics like similar cloud and CDN implementations. It also introduces no latency compared to other masters/enslaved persons or star-centred solutions.
  • Distributed email service: WorldDirector is also very effectively used to provide a redundant, globally distributed corporate email service (based on multiple geographically distributed SMTP & MX servers), with DDOS, antivirus and spam protection that can sustain high traffic peaks and considerable server downtime with uninterrupted service.

Milano Ventures multicloud migration consulting

WorldDirector compared to other cloud and CDN solutions

Although Web accelerators, content caching devices, and multimedia streaming/caching services have recently become available (or claim to be), no similar product or service is currently marketed, including all the features above.

Generally speaking, cloud solutions are delivered by a single data centre location, possibly using redundant hardware, but more often from a single site, network, or AS (Autonomous System), representing a single point of failure. However, WorldDirector provides services from many different ASes, networks, and geographical servers that operate as autonomous nodes in an all-master (not master-slave) configuration. It works effectively and transparently even if some servers or parts of the Internet are down or unreachable.

Similar services offered by competitors may require modification of the Web site content to provide replication. Others sell devices that heavily depend on enslaver/enslaved person or redirection mechanisms, may add latency and operate as a single point of failure, diminishing the whole system’s reliability in case of failures.

WorldDirector is conceived as a turn-key system with full service, and it is 100% transparent to any application. WordlDirector does not require any modification to the origin web server, its pages or any of its applications) and clients (it does not require any additional software or plug-in). Additionally, the reliability of the WorldDirector system has allowed us to maintain a status of 100% always available since 1995 for many clients’ websites and applications, even when one or more servers have been unavailable for hours or days for maintenance or due to faults either in the network, hardware or software.

No Backup is Secure in the Cloud: Nobody is liable for your Data Losses

No Backup is Secure in the Cloud: Nobody is liable for your Data Losses

No backup is secure in the cloud, nobody is liable for your data losses

We often get asked about how secure is our clients’ data, and how can a customer backup their data safely. European privacy laws, for example, require that personal data are kept secure and can always be recovered, but there is huge ignorance or wrong assumptions  that once they backup data in the cloud, you can have peace of mind.

Milano Ventures global networks

Among liars in our industry, some low-cost control panel hosting or cloud providers, for example, offer unlimited in/out data transfer, total disk space and free backup services at a meagre monthly cost. They are not just liars. Their marketing strategy works well with their low prices and free options until you need your data back. If you look carefully between the lines of most fine-printed SLAs and contracts, there is mostly no liability for service interruption or data losses. Moreover, you will likely be discontinued if your disk space or monthly data transfer exceeds the average clients’ usage.

As a side note, Microsoft discontinued its unlimited OneDrive storage because someone was abusing it, and Microsoft was surely losing money.

Let’s focus on cloud backups

Several low-cost web hosting companies offer free daily or even hourly backups of web data. What a temptation to upload all your pictures, music and videos to a web hosting space for a few dollars and even get a free backup!

For example, the Akeeba backup plugin for WordPress and the Akeeba extension for Joomla are some solutions that our clients use to automatically save a backup copy of their web data and databases on the website’s web/FTP space. Our clients believe they save money instead of ordering an offline backup service that is charged more but offers some (real) additional peace of mind.

Backups on the same disk space as your website

In fact, for this or any similar backup solution, you should check whether backup files live on the same web or FTP space as the website because (quite often) a backup remains indefinitely on the same disk or same physical storage device as the original data.

What does it mean? Suppose a severe hardware failure happens, especially with a cheap storage solution. In that case, no backup may be left since the original data and backup copies were on the same broken storage device. There is usually no or little incentive for the cloud provider to recover your data because,e in most cases, you have no contractual guarantee on the persistence or recovery of your data (check liability or service agreements of significant cloud providers excerpted below).

Online backup and restore procedures may significantly differ from low-cost, professional hosting services and cloud providers. On the low-cost control panel web services, risks can be much higher, also because there may not be any offline backup of clients’ data; control panel software can be more exposed to bugs and security issues that cannot be corrected immediately; and hundreds of clients are usually packed on high density, memory, disks and networks of low-cost service providers.

Secure and reliable hybrid cloud services provided by Milano Ventures

No liability for data losses in the cloud

In general, there is no guarantee of service continuity or data loss when you look at contracts and SLAs or – if there is any – it’s not for standard services or in standard SLAs. Amazon, Google and Microsoft mention very clearly that their liability is none (or almost none) in case of service interruption and loss of customer data (I lost an entire disk when running a test on Amazon AWS; it failed and was put out of service. However since all data was replicated on WorldDirector’s servers outside AWS, I could quickly rebuild it).

Amazon AWS data loss liability

Amazon’s AWS terms:

https://aws.amazon.com/agreement/ – specifically, section 11:

WE AND OUR AFFILIATES OR LICENSORS WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES (INCLUDING DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, GOODWILL, USE, OR DATA), EVEN IF A PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. FURTHER, NEITHER WE NOR ANY OF OUR AFFILIATES OR LICENSORS WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY COMPENSATION, REIMBURSEMENT, OR DAMAGES ARISING IN CONNECTION WITH: (A) YOUR INABILITY TO USE THE SERVICES, …

Google data loss liability

Excerpt of Google’s liability: https://www.google.com/policies/terms/

WHEN PERMITTED BY LAW, GOOGLE, AND GOOGLE’S SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTOR, WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST PROFITS, REVENUES, OR DATA, FINANCIAL LOSSES OR INDIRECT, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES …

Microsoft’s data loss liability

Microsoft Policy:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/support/legal/subscription-agreement-nov-2014/

7.2 : EXCLUSION. Neither party will be liable for indirect, special, incidental, consequential, punitive, or exemplary damages for lost profits, revenues, business interruption, or loss of business information, even if the party knew such damages were possible.

What can you do to secure your data?

Back in the times of POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) and since the GTD-5 EAX (General Telephone Digital Number 5 Electronic Automatic Exchange), one of the first digital telephone exchanges, appeared in the 80s and 90s, all hardware and software had to be duplicated (as well as databases containing billing data) if you wanted to guarantee a reliable and uninterrupted telephone service. Spare copies of hardware were to be made active automatically whenever there was a fault. The only bottleneck in the digital subscriber’s line (DSL) connecting homes and offices to the telephone exchange and its interfaces.

Secure Web Services with Wornex International (Ireland)

Multiple, redundant, offline and off-site backups for a successful disaster recovery

To avoid service disruption, if you work on critical applications, you should use a backup solution based on multiple, redundant, off-site, and offline storage that does not use the same hardware devices as your live data. The higher the number of redundant copies made offline and at different geographical locations, the higher the likelihood that you can recover your data in full as soon as needed.

Additionally, you should never trust only one cloud provider for 100% of your multiple redundant backups; use onsite and more than one provider, as well as more than one data centre to store your data, and keep additional copies off the cloud to protect from ransomware and ensure a successful disaster recovery.

Conclusions

If you want to have a close to 100% service guarantee and a natural ability to recover data, what you can do is minimize the risks by paying more and make use of fully redundant services, i.e. redundant connectivity offered by many different AS (Autonomous Systems), complete hardware and software redundancy (multiple cold or hot copies), maintain redundant offline backups, and store data and offer access from servers located at different geographical locations in a global load balancing configuration that has no single point of failure.

Radio Colore: web and in-store radio

Radio Colore: web and in-store radio

Radio Colore

Radio Colore is container or platform for professional training, news, culture, events and competitions, with a unique soft adult contemporary (lite AC) music format to relax, inspire and entertain at the same time. Radio Colore is not just a radio station, but also a community that engages professionals in the building and decoration industry, with a very Italian-style touch.

Milano Ventures developed a custom software and automation that creates a music and information mix in real-time. Milano Ventures delivers Radio Colore to mobiles, shops, homes and workplaces using WordDirector as a hybrid (private & public) cloud and CDN for audio and video streaming.

The future of Shortwave

The future of Shortwave

One of the items being asked about in international broadcasting is the viability of Shortwave radio in the age of satellites and the Internet. Wars and authoritarian governments again pose a severe threat to freedom of expression. Regional and global communication, such as local media, local and national radio & TV, the Internet, satellites and phones can easily fall under government control and be censored in several countries around the world.

Virtually every leading international media company and broadcaster is considering this question, including Milano Ventures Ltd. We have been in contact with other organisations and have also sought the advice of leading independent specialists in this field to formulate our picture of the trends. We have been careful to distil truth from fiction and wishful thinking in drawing our conclusions.

There can be no direct replacement for Shortwave as the first line of international broadcasting, especially for most of Africa, some regions in Asia, the Pacific and South America and worldwide in case of political or religious instability, regional or widespread conflict and calamities. Even in the most developed countries in North America and Europe, and in case of conflicts (i.e. Ukraine/Russia in 2022) and destruction of local communication facilities during wars,  Shortwave can cover effectively entire countries or niche groups of information savvy and news addict people searching for first-hand news and information not available elsewhere. At the same time, we acknowledge the Internet (if and when available) does have its place and has become increasingly important somewhere down the road.

It is not our intention to hinder progress. Although Shortwave has been a mainstay of our operations for almost three decades now, we were very quick and early in identifying new technologies’ growth potential and were the first broadcasting organisation in Europe to offer streaming media via the Internet as early as 1994.

The missionary broadcaster

Our investigations have become very concerned about specific commercial forces that would attempt to depict satellite and other technologies as a panacea. Based on other broadcasters’ experience and the thoughts of other qualified observers in this field, we caution against a complete transition into these new audio technologies at the expense of Shortwave.

Certain governments and international broadcasters already fell into this trap, and now, unfortunately, some may regret it. Once a shortwave station has been demolished. Unfortunately, it will be pretty long and costly to bring it back on the air.

The importance of Shortwave radio broadcasting

There is much pessimistic talk today about the validity of Shortwave broadcasting as a vehicle of international media. Critics present several arguments: high operating costs, environmental considerations, a need to re-channel available funds into satellites and the Internet, and loosely termed a decline in Shortwave. This catalogue of opposing arguments appears sound and reasonable from the broadcast planner and decision-maker. However, from the perspective of a large audience segment, reductions in shortwave services are inexplicable and a source of frustration and even anger.

In a period of restructuring and cost-reduction, these are contemporary buzzwords used and abused so frequently as a catch-all excuse to justify virtually any action taken by management or governments, regardless of how inappropriate. So-called market forces rule the media. Radio and television no more produce programs but products. Today there are no listeners but markets.

Superficially, the shortwave cost compared to satellite, local FM, AM (Medium Wave) program distribution, or Internet streaming appears higher. But if market penetration and acceptability are considered and the crucial factor of the personal cost to the listener, shortwave wins hands down. There are millions of shortwave receivers in use worldwide. They are compact, portable, easy to use, and cheap. Technically speaking, there is no other sound broadcasting medium that can compete with Shortwave in these respects.

Overall in this short analysis, we consider analogue shortwave vs other media intended for international broadcasting instead of digital shortwave, or DRM. Unfortunately, after decades of DRM trials, unless there are mass availability and penetration of low cost and technically viable DRM receivers, we believe that digital AM & digital Shortwave will remain a mere scientific experiment.

NEXUS-IBA and European Gospel Radio Shortwave HF antennas

The mobility factor

Mobility is a massive advantage in Shortwave and another striking deficiency in satellite sound broadcasting and Internet streaming. Current technology does not permit us to carry a satellite or internet receiver in our pocket and take it along on our travels. Moreover, reception of continuous audio or video streaming on mobile phones or internet radio devices in mobility is mostly unaffordable or technically unreliable in most parts of the world because of the widespread unavailability of high-speed internet, high wireless Internet costs and high battery consumption. Cable distribution of international programs is often cited as a promising alternative to direct home satellite reception, but cable installations are also fixed; they cannot be used away from the home setting.

Shortwave radio listening in Africa

The political, religious and emergency factor

Perhaps the most crucial reason for retaining redundant capabilities of Shortwave broadcasting to the exterior is that radio broadcasts operated from Shortwave transmitters and directional antennas may reach areas that may be sealed from other media (paper, local radio & TV, Internet) and will overcome any permanent or temporary ban (i.e. in case of elections, wars or censorship) of using local media to carry international or foreign programs. In addition, although Shortwave use nationally is not common, there are countries (i.e. Peru, India, Africa) where shortwave is also used nationwide and can be used in emergencies to reach a vast area even with a single transmitter.

Be it for reasons of foreign politics, religious proselytism or even for goodwill, retaining and maintaining Shortwave broadcasting capability guarantees free flow of information, which may be a necessity in time of conflict or emergency, to reach a foreign audience, our citizens or our group members, both inland and abroad.

Shortwave listenining

The cost factor

Analogue Shortwave receivers (sometimes called “world radios”) are cheap and affordable. Currently, Amazon carries shortwave receivers starting from about US$ 15.00. Less expensive radio receivers are available in Asia from manufacturers in China and Taiwan. Higher quality shortwave PLL receivers with digital frequency readout cost around US$ 100 and more for professional radios. This is far below the cost of a computer, a smartphone, tablet, TV or satellite receiver and makes shortwave receivers affordable even to the poorest segments of the world populations in Africa and Asia.

Secure Web Services with Wornex International (Ireland)

Satellite broadcasting

Billions of dollars have been invested in telecommunication satellite technology. It is elementary that the investors expect a return on their investments, and considering the limited life span of satellites, this return must be as fast as possible. Today’s main thrust is television, and it was for TV that the current broadcast satellite technology was designed. In concrete terms, the transmission capacity concept for these satellites was designed with TV in mind, not radio. To use the ITU terminology, Sound Broadcasting was promoted later to merchandise over-capacity and improve the return on investment.

International broadcasting on satellite and Shortwave

Furthermore, accessing sound channels on satellites is user-unfriendly and therefore unattractive for most people. Although impressive statistics based on satellite households are often quoted to support the satellite radio argument, only a very tiny fragment of this potential audience ever listens to radio via satellite. In Europe, where satellite radio is available on several TV satellites, only a few per cent of satellite households ever use their satellite receiver for sound broadcasting.

As far as satellite TV programming, the matter is not quite the potential audience that may be reached using a constellation of satellites to cover the entire globe. A single shortwave transmitter could cover all. But instead, the point is who watches satellite TV, not who can manage it. Again, as we will see for other media, satellite TV reception is not generally available in most parts of Africa and Asia’s poorest regions, outside of the main urban areas.

Internet

Since around the year 2000, the progressive use of Internet radio & video streaming and text content delivery (news websites) have been a cheap way for international broadcasters to replace Shortwave broadcasting. However, the week’s point of Internet delivery is that the Internet is confined to a world average of 60% (source: 2020 data on World Development Bank Indicators, much less than 10% in some countries in Africa and Asia. Also, according to the World Development Bank Indicators, fixed broadband subscriptions in 2020 were stuck to a mere 16% worldwide average.

Only in the most significant towns in Africa, and mainly in the northern Mediterranean areas, the Internet is becoming more available. Still, the Internet may be quickly censored or controlled. For example, in Russia, China, Ethiopia, and Iran, access to Internet content can be limited or unavailable due to government censorship or severe bandwidth capacity problems.

FM and AM relays for international broadcasting

Standard AM and FM stations lose their power as their signals dissipate along the ground over long distances. In shortwave, the opposite is true. The earth is encased in an invisible covering of gases called the Ionosphere. This acts as a mirror, reflecting shortwave signals to Earth, thus making it possible to cover vast distances with a single transmitter. This is why shortwave is so efficient and cost-effective in covering large regions and populations that would not be covered with a single FM, AM or a network of FM transmitters.
Moreover as proven by several International broadcasters, laws and political situations may vary in time and under political or war circumstances so to limit the use of local stations by foreign broadcasters or by local political or religious groups to the ruling party. Shortwave can be operated from several thousand kilometres away of the target and can be made almost immune from interferences and jamming, using careful frequency selection and monitoring.

Conclusions

Like it or not, from a purely technical point of view, the fact is, there is nothing at this moment to replace shortwave. One day there may be. In the meantime, it is good and wise to gain a foothold in the new technologies, and complement the use of shortwave with internet streaming, satellite, AM and FM relays, and maybe experiment with DRM, but not to overestimate or over-represent their value. If market orientation is truly important, then we would have to admit that the demand is still for alternative sources of news and information delivered by shortwave in poor, remote and developing countries and elsewhere in situations of emergency, and political or religious conflicts.

To quote the old saying: “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater”. Another popular and wise saying is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We are in favour of new technology, provided it demonstrates a clear superiority to what is currently in use. In the case of analogue shortwave, some would like to bury it before it has even died.

About NEXUS-IBA

NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association (NEXUS-IBA) is a non-profit association of international broadcasters and program producers founded in 1990 in Milan, Italy. NEXUS-IBA aims to provide all necessary means at our disposal for the effective dissemination of content on radio, the Internet and any media in general. To fulfil its aims, NEXUS-IBA also offers its technical facilities, as well as consulting services to medium and large organisations on broadcasting and emerging media technologies.

People working and volunteering for NEXUS-IBA are professionals, teachers, university professors and researchers, journalists, students and engineers, some of them devoting their spare time and resources as a public service to the global community. On June 15, 1995, NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association was officially approved for association with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations, and since 1988 it has been active in promoting the work and activities of its membership through radio, TV and the Internet.

About Milano Ventures Ltd

From Dublin, Ireland, Milano Ventures Ltd. offers content media delivery services worldwide both to NEXUS-IBA’s members and commercial clients. Services offered by Milano Ventures include: international broadcasting, disaster recovery, professional e-mail, software and application development, domain registration, web marketing & SEO, high reliability WorldDirector cloud hosting and related consulting services.

The future of Shortwave

NEXUS-IBA selects MV as service partner

NEXUS-IBA

NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association (NEXUS-IBA, Milan, Italy) is a non-profit association founded in 1990. NEXUS-IBA aims to provide its membership all necessary means for the effective dissemination of content on radio, TV, the Internet and any media in general. Members of the NEXUS association are individual radio & TV program producers, secular and Christian Ministries, religious, secular and international organisations, NGOs, international broadcasters, volunteers, content producers, media agencies. NEXUS-IBA reaches every country in the world and targets Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific explicitly.

Radio and TV broadcasters use our Internet media streaming & distribution, radio, TV, and satellite broadcasting services to reach audiences worldwide.

From Dublin, Ireland, Milano Ventures offers broadcasting, cloud and related consulting services to NEXUS-IBA’s members and commercial clients.

Contact us to receive more information on how to broadcast your program worldwide!

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International Broadcasting Services

Milano Ventures merges the competences and share the values of NEXUS in offering strategic consultancy and opportunities to international broadcasters, either secular and Christian, to reach any country in the world via International radio and satellite, and with the most advanced cloud technologies, including streaming and online media. Milano Ventures and NEXUS will create your own streaming radio station with a visual player on your own web site, based on your own content and music. We can also help locating and integrating news, information and additional content to create a loyal audience.

Milano Ventures and NEXUS also help your Missisocial media managementon to create a modern communication strategy, i.e. creating real opportunities to make an impact with innovative services, such as marketing automation, fundraising, lead generation, on demand marketing, online presence and social media management for secular and Christian organizations to increase fund-raising opportunities, and help funding your mission and outreaching Ministry.

With the help of Milano Ventures, the NEXUS association is re-focusing as a technology mediator or facilitator, to enable NEXUS-IBA’s worldwide members, as well as end-users, to make full use of innovation and of the recent developments of technology in media, including broadcasting, social media and the Internet.

People volunteering for NEXUS-IBA are professionals, teachers, university professors and researchers, journalists, students and engineers, most of them devoting their spare time and resources as a public service to the global community. On June 15, 1995, NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association was officially approved for association with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations, and for more than 20 years has been actively working in promoting the work and activities of both UN and UNESCO.

Researchers at NEXUS-IBA created the original load-balanced cloud and Content Delivery Network (CDN) called WorldDirector, later used by Wornex, Milano Ventures and their clients in Europe and USA. Over the WorldDirector cloud platform, several Internet related services and applications are delivered to end users, fast and reliably, including streaming audio and video.

NEXUS was chosen because this Latin word says it all: a link or point of connection, using international media, radio, TV and cloud services to link content providers with their audiences.  But NEXUS also stands for more than just a physical connection using a variety of technologies. It also means communication and free flow of information around the world. When an individual or an organization becomes part of NEXUS-IBA, they are part of a dynamic, highly professional and creative team devoted to utilizing the latest technologies to deliver their content at the lowest possible cost.

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Contact us for more information at info@milanoventures.com
Since Jan. 1, 2017, NEXUS-IBA has been working closely with Milano Ventures to operate IRRS (the Italian Radio Relay Service), IPAR (International Public Access Radio) and EGR (European Gospel Radio) on behalf of NEXUS-IBA’s members.

Milano Ventures is proud to be selected NEXUS-IBA’s commercial partner to service their membership, and maintain their cloud and broadcasting infrastructure across all continents.