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The State of the Internet - A Historical Perspective

The 4th Quarter, 2011 issue of the State of the Internet report marks the completion of the fourth year of the report's publication.  The report has come quite a long way since Akamai CMO Brad Rinklin walked me through some ideas for it in a PowerPoint deck back in 2008.  Customers and partners, as well as media and analysts, had been coming to Akamai seeking a host of data about Internet use so they could ensure that they were appropriately preparing for potential challenges and identifying opportunities for their online businesses. From our unique vantage point of delivering over 1 trillion Internet transactions daily, we have unparalleled access to just that kind of information, so we decided it would be a valuable service to the industry to bring it all together in a publicly available report. And so, in spring of 2008, the State of the Internet report was born.

Digging back into the archives, I found that the report's first issue had just 16 pages of content, while this most recent issue has over 50!  Over the report's history, the report has dropped some sections (such as per-capita data) while adding others (such as insight into SSL Ciphers).  Akamai's partner Ericsson has also been a key contributor to the report over the last year, providing its unique insight into the usage characteristics of mobile device users around the world.

In this 4th Quarter, 2011 issue of the report, we aggregated and analyzed four years of data on some of the key metrics to gain a historical perspective on trends that have been seen over time.  In a similar vein, I thought it would also be interesting to also take a look back at the report itself, aggregating and analyzing the content within over its four year history.  Here are a few interesting statistics from that analysis:

  • Total word count: Over 208,000
  • Total page count: Nearly 600
  • Total number of charts and figures: 431
  • Total number of footnotes/endnotes: 771
  • Total number of downloads: Over 70,000
  • Growth in the usage of the term "broadband": Nearly 4x (38 in Q1 2008 to over 140 in Q4 2011)
  • Total occurrences of the words "security" or "secure": Over 200
  • Number of languages translated into: Four (Japanese, Chinese, French and Spanish)

In addition, I thought it would be interesting to do some additional analysis of the text of the reports, so I used the IBM Word Cloud Generator tool to create a visualization of the words that have appeared most frequently in the 16 issues of the report that have been published to date. (Click on the image below to download the word cloud as a PDF.)

all2.pngUnsurprisingly, the analysis showed that terms including Mbps, broadband, connection, average, and speeds were among the most frequently used.  While I expect that these terms will continue to be popular going forward, I expect that terms including security, attack, mobile, device, and cloud will see more frequent usage in future issue of the report.

David Belson is Director of Market Intelligence at Akamai

1 Comment


Can I recommend reading the new book Cyber War by Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism advisor and author of “Cyber War” Can you comment on your views of this subject in "unique view into online trends including security, cloud, mobile and media." for your upcoming The State of the Internet Webinar.


Best Regards,