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The State of the Internet: A Decade of Change

The State of the Internet Report is growing up - with this issue, it enters its tenth year of publication.  Over time, it has matured in many ways, including its length, design, and the content it includes.  Looking back at that first issue (all 17 pages of it), for the first quarter of 2008, we find that the report covered:

Nine Years of Better Broadband

One of the questions I am frequently asked about the State of the Internet is how things are changing - what are the trends we see in the data? As we've just closed out the ninth year of publication of the Connectivity report, I thought that it would be a good time to take look back and see just how much better things have gotten since the initial report, which covered the first quarter of 2008.

The graphs below cover the key connection speeds and broadband adoption metrics currently covered within the report, along with a look at connections under 256 kbps - some folks out there are still stuck on dial-up quality connections. For ease of review, we've aggregated the data at a continental level - obviously, that means that the changes seen in a specific country will be lost in the averaging. For more granular insight, similar country-level trending graphs can be built and exported (as can the underlying data) using the State of the Internet graph visualization tool. (And you can always contact us at stateoftheinternet@akamai.com with questions as well.)

State of the Internet at 9 - Changes & Highlights

Today, we published the Fourth Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet / Connectivity Report.  This issue of the report concludes its ninth year of publication.  Over that time, everyone involved with the report at Akamai has worked hard to make it one of Akamai's most successful thought leadership programs.  And of course, our readers have made the report a success through their ongoing interest in, and use of, its data, effectively making it a de-facto reference within the broadband industry.

*Batteries not included

If you grew up in the 1970's and 80's, this simple statement could ruin your holiday - if Mom & Dad hadn't had the foresight to stock up on AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt batteries before you opened your presents, you had to put your handheld video games, animatronic animals, and talking dolls aside for a few days.  In contrast, today's gadgets tend to come with a USB charging cable, so needing to have batteries on hand is no longer a real issue.  (And if you find yourself in a *Cables not included situation, you probably have one or more stashed away somewhere in your office or house that you can use.)

Over the last 10 years, connected devices have grown in popularity and availability.  While keeping them charged remains an issue, keeping them connected has arguably become a bigger one.  These devices now rely on Internet connectivity for activation, for core functionality, and for content - without it, they essentially become expensive paperweights. (You *do* still have some paper around, right?)

Updated Insights into State of the Internet Metrics

In February 2015, we published a blog post entitled "State of the Internet Metrics: What Do They Mean?" which itself was an update to an earlier "Clarifying State of the Internet Report Metrics" blog post, published in March 2013.  The explanations in both posts are still relevant to the State of the Internet / Connectivity report series, but there are a few updates that are worth highlighting.

National Internet Outages - The New Normal?

Gabon's ongoing "Internet curfew" is, unfortunately, representative of the new normal for Internet connectivity in some countries.  After experiencing a near complete Internet outage in the country from September 1-5, connectivity returned.  However, since that time, the country has put a so-called "curfew" into place, with Internet connectivity regularly disrupted each day between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM local time.

#MobilePerf Blog Series: Mobile Browser Trends

In June 2012, Akamai launched the "Akamai IO" data visualization tool, with an initial data set that highlighted browser usage across PCs and other connected devices connecting to Akamai via fixed and mobile networks. The data used for Akamai IO is sampled from nearly three trillion requests for content that Akamai handles each day.  It also makes use of Akamai's EdgeScape IP address geolocation tool to help identify IP addresses belonging to mobile/cellular network providers, which allows us to break out connections from those providers separately within the visualization tool. While we feature data from Akamai IO in each quarter's State of the Internet Report, we thought it would be interesting to look at longer term trending for mobile browser usage as part of the MobilePerf blog series.

The State of the Internet Report - Year 9 Update

With this issue, the start of the ninth volume of the State of the Internet Report, we are introducing several changes, with several more planned to follow in subsequent issues.

The first notable change is within the regional breakout sections of the report. For the last several years, the report has included a "Geography: Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)" section, surveying a selected set of countries within those regions. Starting this quarter, we've broken that section apart, and the report will now include a "Geography: Europe" section, which includes all 28 member countries of the European Union plus three more non-members that have long been included within the EMEA section. The report will also now include a "Geography: Middle East and Africa (MEA)" section that surveys 13 countries from across that extended region. Given the increasing role the Internet is playing across multiple facets of life in this developing region and the ongoing improvements to both domestic and international Internet connectivity within these countries, we felt it was time to break out connection speeds and broadband adoption rates for Middle East and Africa countries into a distinct section, where surveyed countries can be compared with their local peers.

State of the Internet data: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

With the release of the Fourth Quarter, 2015 State of the Internet Report, we've also made a small but important update to the associated data visualization tools on www.stateoftheinternet.com.

While the report itself generally covers either the top ten countries or states, or a selected set of countries/regions, we often get requests for full data sets.  Researchers, journalists, folks involved in broadband initiatives, and others have asked for data on all 50 states, or the full complement of countries in a given region, either for the current quarter, or going back several years.

Eight years ago, Akamai CMO Brad Rinklin called me into his office to talk about an idea he had - sharing some of Akamai's unique Internet insights with the broader community and establishing thought leadership along the way.  (I even have the PowerPoint deck around somewhere, although it's buried in 17 years of Aka-files and Aka-mail.)  Out of that conversation came the State of the Internet Report - we published the first issue in May 2008, covering the first quarter of 2008.  The report itself covered security (attack traffic, DDoS attacks, and publicized Web site hacks), networks (outages, de-peering events, routing issues, and significant new connectivity), Internet penetration (unique IPv4 addresses seen by Akamai and unique IP addresses per capita), and broadband (% above 5 Mbps, % above 2 Mbps, and % below 256 kbps).

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