State Of The Internet: Last Spring’s Papal Election Quadrupled Web Streaming

Akamai’s globally-distributed Intelligent Platform allows them to gather massive amounts of information on many metrics, including connection speeds, attack traffic, network connectivity/availability/latency problems, and IPv6 growth/transition progress, as well as traffic patterns across leading Web sites and digital media providers.

Each quarter, Akamai publishes the State of the Internet Report.
This quarters report includes data gathered from across the Akamai Intelligent Platform in the first quarter of 2013 about attack traffic, broadband adoption, and mobile connectivity, as well as trends seen in this data over time. In addition, this edition of the report includes insight into so-called account checker attacks that targeted e-commerce sites, the states of IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 adoption, Internet events and disruptions that occurred during the quarter, and observations from Akamai partner Ericsson on data and voice traffic growth on mobile networks.

Internet and Broadband Adoption

Akamai observed a 3.1% increase in the number of unique IPv4 addresses connecting to the Akamai platform, growing
to nearly 734 million, or approximately 34 million more than were seen in the fourth quarter of 2012. Looking at connection speeds, the global average connection speed climbed 4.0%
to 3.1 Mbps, and the global average peak connection speed increased 9.2% to 18.4 Mbps.

At a country level, South Korea had the highest average connection speed at 14.2 Mbps, while Hong Kong once again had the highest average peak connection speed at 63.6 Mbps. Globally, high broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption grew 10% quarter-over-quarter to 13%, and South Korea remained the country with the highest level of high broadband adoption, growing to 50%. Global broadband (>4 Mbps) adoption grew 5.8% to 46%, with Switzerland taking the top spot with 88% broadband adoption.

How much streaming traffic can an event-driven flash crowd drive?
On March 13, in the one-hour period between when white smoke announced the election of a new Pope to when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was announced as the newly elected Pope Francis, live streaming traffic on the Akamai Intelligent platform quadrupled, peaking at over 2.1 Tbps. (The Platform concurrently handled ~10 Tbps of other traffic without incident.) Can your Web site/application or media delivery infrastructure scale in real-time to meet extreme levels of event-driven demand?

Mobile Connectivity

In the first quarter of 2013, average connection speeds on surveyed mobile network providers ranged from a high of 8.6 Mbps down to a low of 0.4 Mbps. Average peak connection speeds ranged from 45.6 Mbps down to 2.8 Mbps. Based on traffic data collected by Ericsson, the volume of mobile data traffic increased 19% between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, while doubling year-over-year. In contrast, mobile voice traffic grew only 4% during that same year-over-year period.

Analysis of Akamai IO data collected across the first quarter from a sample of requests to the Akamai Intelligent Platform indicates that for users of devices on cellular networks, the largest percentage of requests came from Android Webkit (41-44%), ahead of Apple Mobile Safari (30-38%). However, for users of mobile devices across all networks (not just cellular), Apple Mobile Safari accounted for approximately 60%, with Android Webkit responsible for 20-33% of requests. (The ranges are related to updates made to the back-end data source in the middle of the quarter.)

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