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Introducing the new Akamai State of the Internet iOS App

Over the last six years, Akamai's State of the Internet Report has primarily been available as a PDF download or a printed report. We've also made related data available through map- and graph-based visualizations on the State of the Internet page on www.akamai.com, as well as posting related news and information on the @akamai_soti Twitter feed.

Today, we're bringing that all together in a new mobile app for iOS users. Available for download from the iOS App Store, this new app brings it all together through an easy-to-use interface.

In An "Akamai Minute"

As if serving on the order of two trillion content requests a day isn't enough, there's even more happening on the Akamai Intelligent Platform at any given time: video streaming, route optimization calculations, DNS lookups, and content purges, just to name just a few. In the Akamai NOCC, we have both real-time and long-term (days, months, years) views of platform activity and key metrics, giving us a view of what's going on *right now* and what's happened over time.  With so much taking place, we thought it'd be interesting to capture a snapshot of the broad range of activity across the Akamai Intelligent Platform over a nicely manageable timeframe, like a minute.

Gigabits to kilobits

Last week, United States FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued a "Gigabit City Challenge", calling for at least one gigabit community in all 50 states by 2015.  The FCC's announcement of the challenge cited several existing gigabit programs, including a municipal initiative in Chattanooga, Tenn., the Google Fiber initiative in Kansas City, and Gig.U's initiatives to build ultra-high-speed hubs in the communities of many leading research universities.  Why the need for speed?  Consistent with past discussions around the benefits of high-speed connectivity, the Chairman noted, "The U.S. needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness." He added, "Networks cease to be hurdles to applications, so it no longer matters whether medical data, high-definition video, or online services are in the same building or miles away across the state."

As was highlighted in yesterday's post, research into national broadband plans published around the world highlighted the lack of a definitive resource for such information.  As a resource for others interested in similar information, I compiled the results of my research into the chart below, which includes broadband plan targets for key countries around the world, as well as the average and average peak connection speeds for those countries as published in the Q1 2012 State of the Internet report.

We recently published the Q1 2012 State of the Internet report.  Since it was the start of a new volume (our 5th!), as the editor of the report, I took the opportunity to update the definitions of the terms "high broadband" and "broadband" as they are used within the report.  From 2008-2011, "high broadband" was defined as connections to Akamai at speeds of 5 Mbps or greater; starting in 2012, we are defining it as connections to Akamai at speeds of 10 Mbps or greater.  And from 2008-2011, "broadband" was defined as connections to Akamai at speeds of 2 Mbps or greater; starting in 2012, we are defining it as connections to Akamai at speeds of 4 Mbps or greater.  This update brings our definition of "broadband" into closer alignment with broadband plan speed targets in the United States, European Union, and China.

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.

The State of the Internet Report Turns Four

Four years ago, when Akamai launched the first State of the Internet Report, the iPhone had just launched, there was no iPad/tablet market and huge swaths of the globe still lacked basic Internet and mobile access.
Internet connectivity has changed drastically since then due to technological advances, and this has revolutionized the ways in which enterprises deliver content and consumers expect to consume it. Nowhere is this change more apparent today than the growth seen in the number of unique IP addresses connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform, growing from 329 million in the first quarter of 2008, to more than 628 million from 236 countries and regions in the fourth quarter of 2011.
According to a published report from Reuters, Iranian residents once again faced a disruption of their Internet access on Monday.  Reuters noted:

The latest Internet blockade affected the most common form of secure connections, including all encrypted international websites outside of Iran that depend on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol, which display addresses beginning with "https."

To say that Web-based security attacks are on the rise would be an understatement. Consider this: in just the past three years, we've seen an eye-popping 2,000% increase in the number of DDoS attack incidents investigated on behalf of our customers.  

And while those DDoS numbers are not currently part of Akamai's State of the Internet report (Q3 2011 edition released today at  http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/), the attack traffic that we monitor and report on provides some interesting food for thought. State of the Internet report attack data is gathered from a distributed set of agents deployed across the Internet. Based on data collected by these agents, we're able to identify the top countries from which this observed attack traffic originates, as well as the top ports targeted by these attacks.

Where does "State of the Internet" data come from?

Since early 2008, Akamai has been publishing the State of the Internet report each quarter - 14 editions in total through Q2 2011.  (The next edition, for Q3 2011, is currently being written and will be published in January 2012.)  As the editor, it has been very gratifying to see that the report series has been extremely well received, with regular coverage in the industry press (such as GigaOM, ZDNet, and eWeek) , and it has also positioned Akamai as a thought leader, affording us the opportunity to contribute to local and national broadband plans, both domestically and internationally.  The availability of high-speed Internet connectivity has become a key roadmap item for both telecoms and governments, with many now committing to achieving specific speeds and coverage levels over the next several years.
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