Solutions for File Downloads And Software Updates

Solution Brief

A constant for smart phone, PC users, video game players, and any user of the many products that are part of daily life, is the periodic need to download software and file updates. From the perspective of manufacturers of any of these products, each download is a touchpoint opportunity with their users, who have high expectations for how well their downloads perform. Provide them with a great download experience and you enhance their desire to remain a customer. But if things go wrong with a download, you will turn them off and risk bad word of mouth. Fortunately, there are download solutions available to solve the challenges unique each download scenario.

Challenges: Continuously Growing Download Sizes

One thing we know for sure is that software file sizes increase with every release as new capabilities and features are added, and that the number of products in use also increases over time. Here are some of the largest categories of download scenarios with the size of a release or update, and the number of devices that exist across the globe:

  • Updates for devices such as smart phones - The Apple iOS updates are typically 1.5GB, occur sometimes then times per year, to over 1.65 Billion iPhones. The Android updates are around 2GB to over 2.5 Billion Android phones.
  • PC OS updates – Windows with Office 365 updates are in the range of 20GB to 50GB and there are over one billion Windows machines in existence. The latest MacOS is 12GB and there are 100 million active Mac users.
  • The above device download sizes are dwarfed by large video games. Many of the big popular games are over 100GB, and a few are much larger. What’s driving the file sizes are the game graphics that get more sophisticated and realistic with each release. The number of players for popular video games ranges from a few hundred thousand into the millions.

The above examples are just a few of the download use cases. Others include anti-virus updates, music streaming, other consumer devices, automobile over the air updates, and video hosting services. Adding to the challenge of distributing massive downloads to a large global user base, is ensuring this interaction with your customers lives up to their expectations for a fast and robust experience.

Addressing These Challenges

Top tier Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are well suited to delivering these massive downloads with their capacity and global reach. Limelight’s download solution can deliver a continuous flow of software and firmware updates as well as major releases. Software beta programs and restricted versions are easy to manage with built-in geo-fencing capabilities, and tokenization. Using device detection technology integrated at the edge, you can deliver the correct device specific update to virtually any device. CDN Origin Storage and edge caching allows you to position large software files and game downloads at CDN edges near where your device users and game players are located. This speeds time to download and protects your origin from large numbers of requests.
Your downloads are protected with a global HTTPS footprint, a range of access control mechanisms and token authentication.

The below shows the download solution workflow:




  • Edge cache management and SmartPurge for rapid removal of wrong files from cache
  • Automatic replication of origine storage for high-performance and availability
  • Device detection at the edge for fast delivery of the right files
  • Analytics provide on download completions and receipts


The solution allows you to access powerful file and game analytics such as download completion rates, download receipts, and traffic patterns, for smarter business decision-making.


Delivering software downloads, device updates and massive video games is no easy task. Although the components may seem simple, optimizing them is not. In order to provide the best possible download experience for your end users, you need to fine-tune three critical features of your workflow—the speed at which you deliver your files, the availability of your downloads, and the security of your file-based content. Limelight’s solutions ensure that your files are delivered quickly to your users regardless of where they are, so that you can focus on product development.