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Can crowdsourcing better map the physicality of the Internet?

Sometimes 99% just isn't good enough.  That is the global Country Level SLA Akamai's Edgescape Pro Service currently commits to.  The lack of four 9's or finer granularity to this SLA is quite simple-- Internet IP space is not static.  Oh ya, and there are a lot of IPs out there too that move around in fractional blocks including portable IP space, and ISPs jockeying for every last IPV4 address that remains available or unused.  Looking over a 3 week period of a sample of EdgeScape data with 10 million IP addresses for instance, the percentage delta change in physical locality ranged from .24% all the way to 5.6% week over week. 

Getting the most accurate mapping to date has been a mixture of science and art.  But just as Google maps improved in accuracy with crowd-sourced user provided corrections, it seems plausible that a similar technique could be achieved through a data handshake as has been described in the most recent Technology Service Industry Association (TSIA) publication called B4B.  B4B details among other things, new outcome based sales operating trends and organizational capabilities like what is described as a data handshake. 

We piloted this concept recently with a US-based delivery service where the IP mapping data was highly reliable and the data handshake introduced a new data stream to improve the overall accuracy of the database.  The results were improved accuracy at the city and state level.  By improving the accuracy at finer grained locality, the country accuracy improves as well.  The more accurate the database, the more accurate our ability to map end users to Akamai machines nearer to them for improved performance which is of mutual benefit to Akamai and the data stream supplier that wants their end users to have an improved ordering experience--i.e. the full lifecycle of the ordering to fulfillment process is much improved. 

Additionally, improved accuracy of the database can be used by derivative services such as IP Intelligence including reputation, country level geo-blocking, and geo-targeting which is continuing to get much more attention both for Software Downloads in relation to ITAR as well as Broadcast Media rights distribution for live events and Video On Demand.  As we continue exploring this further, we wanted to expand the pilot to other companies willing and interested to contribute at this level.  Existing Akamai customers can broach the topic through their assigned account teams, and others that are interested, feel free to tweet me at @AkamaiRob and I can help get you in touch with the right folks to explore the feasibility and Business Development opportunity.

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