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Refining the State of the Internet Report

Over the last several years, many users have adopted mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, as their primary means of accessing the Internet. A number of studies published over the past year illustrate this trend, especially among millennials. In addition, improvements to, and greater deployment of this technology by mobile network providers have led to mobile connection speeds that rival fixed broadband connections in some geographies.  LTE-Advanced, which is being rolled out by carriers in countries around the world, provides for download speeds in the hundreds of Mbps range, with the latest Android and Apple devices including support for LTE-Advanced.

The data that we publish in the Mobile Connectivity section of the State of the Internet Report relies on the ability to identify connections as mobile, a task that is a mix of art and science. Currently, Akamai leverages several pieces of information, including (but not limited to) netblock registration data and mobile device identification data to make those determinations. However, this identification may be imperfect if providers also use these IP address blocks for other types of connectivity, including fixed or Wi-Fi. Over the next several months, Akamai is implementing a number of refinements to improve the accuracy of mobile network identification, leveraging additional data collected from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, as well as information from mobile network providers themselves.

Due to these ongoing changes, we have chosen to remove the mobile connection speed data from the State of the Internet Report until such time that the data has stabilized. We believe this will ultimately enable us to present a more accurate representation of the state of mobile connectivity around the world, as well as how it has changed over time.

In addition, starting with the Second Quarter, 2015 State of the Internet Report, we have started to filter out connections from IP address blocks associated with leading cloud services providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure, among others. These cloud services data centers generally have extremely high-speed Internet connections that are not necessarily representative of end user Internet connection speeds, and removing them from the report's underlying data set mitigates the impact they can have on speed metric calculations.   

For this quarter's (and future) report, historical data from the past year has also been reprocessed to remove connections from these cloud services providers so that the quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year trending statistics provide a consistent comparison. Because of this reprocessing, connection speed data in this quarter's issue of the report may not match up with that found in previous reports. In countries that are home to such data centers, this may have resulted in significant changes in measured connection speeds. One example of this is Ireland --  while the reported speeds in this quarter's report are lower than they have been in the past, the country also saw strong quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year growth, indicating that general connectivity within the country continues to improve.

For additional details on the metrics presented within the State of the Internet Report, see the previously published State of the Internet Metrics: What Do They Mean? and What happened to "Broadband", "High Broadband", and "4K Ready"? blog posts.


David Belson is Akamai's Senior Director of Industry & Data Intelligence, responsible for strategic competitive intelligence & analysis as well as data-driven evangelism, including Akamai's quarterly State of the Internet report series.