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Global trends in internet speed and attack traffic

Akamai : 14 January, 2010  (Technical Article)
Akamai's 3Q report on the state of the internet now includes the top 10 cities with the fastest connection speed in the world and the changing trends in sources of malware attacks
Akamai Technologies has announced the release of its 3rd Quarter, 2009 State of the Internet report available for download. Making use of published reports and information gathered from its network, the Akamai report provides insight into key Internet statistics such as origin of attack traffic, network outages, and broadband connectivity levels across the globe.

New to the report in the third quarter, Akamai takes a more granular look at the top 10 fastest cities per continent/region. The report also adds its first-ever look and analysis at connections to Akamai identified as coming from networks associated with mobile providers.

Some highlights from the report follow:

Fastest Cities

The report introduces a 'city view' of connection speeds, which reveals that a number of cities around the world have access to particularly high-speed connectivity. In Asia, Europe, and North America, for example, even the slowest cities in the top 10 saw measured speeds in excess of 10 Mbps. Other trends revealed at the city level show that Slovakia, for example, has four of the top 10 fastest cities in Europe, with average speeds between 11-14 Mbps. Brazil has four of the top 10 fastest cities in South America, with average speeds between 1.6-1.9 Mbps.

Global Average Connection Speeds

The majority of countries within the top 10 (based on average measured connection speed) saw average connection speeds increase on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Globally, the average connection speed increased 18 percent to 1.7 Mbps - a level consistent with the first quarter of 2009. Among the top 10 countries, seven of them saw flat to higher average connection speeds in the third quarter.

Romania, Sweden, and the Czech Republic all saw quarterly declines in their average connection speeds, though they all maintained positive yearly growth. The United States (ranking 18th overall), on the other hand, saw a small quarterly gain in average connection speeds, increasing to 3.9 Mbps, but declined slightly from a year-over-year perspective.

Also during the third quarter, 103 of the 226 countries measured had average connection speeds below 1 Mbps, down from 125 countries in the prior quarter. Akamai also measured average connection speeds below 100 Kbps in seven countries during the third quarter - half as many as last quarter. The lowest average connection speed seen in the third quarter was 43 Kbps on the island of Mayotte, located in the Indian Ocean between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique.

Current highlights and historical trends for average connection speeds on a global basis can be found in Akamai's "Broadband Adoption Trends" data visualization tool.

Fastest US States

Quarterly changes in average measured connection speeds within the United States were mixed in the third quarter. Of the top 10 states measured, three states and the District of Columbia saw speeds increase 15 percent or more, while New Hampshire and New York saw nominal decreases. Among the top 10 states, Massachusetts has seen the greatest yearly increase in average measured connection speed, growing 21 percent. In contrast,
New Hampshire's average of 5.9 Mbps is 10 percent slower than in the third quarter of 2008.

Attack Traffic

During the third quarter of 2009, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 207 unique countries, nearly consistent with 201 unique countries in the second quarter. In a shift from prior quarters, Russia and Brazil unseated the United States and China as the two largest attack traffic sources, accounting for nearly 22 percent of observed traffic in total, half as much as was seen from China and the United States in the second quarter. Akamai observed attack traffic targeted at more than 3,800 unique ports, with the top 10 ports seeing nearly 95 percent of the observed attack traffic, up from 90 percent in the second quarter.

Internet Connectivity

In the third quarter of 2009, slightly more than 444 million unique IP addresses, from 226 countries, connected to the Akamai network - a 4.5 percent increase over the second quarter of 2009, and a 17 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago. For the sixth consecutive quarter, the United States and China continued to account for nearly 40 percent of the observed IP addresses. The Top 10 countries continued to remain the same quarter-over-quarter, although Brazil moved up one spot (passing Spain to move into the ninth spot).

Mobile Connectivity

In response to the growing amount of Internet content being accessed through mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops equipped with mobile broadband connection technologies, Akamai plans to begin publishing insights into metrics collected from connections to Akamai identified as coming from networks associated with mobile providers. Over time, the number of metrics and mobile providers examined in the State of the Internet report is expected to expand. For the third quarter of 2009, Akamai analyzed the average connection speeds from three of the leading mobile providers within the United States. Initial observations show that the average connection speeds across the three US mobile carriers approached or exceeded 700 Kbps. Although Akamai observed significant variability in the average measured connection speeds for the carriers over the last year, it appears that all three are converging on average speeds in the 700-800 Kbps range.

Akamai's unique level of visibility into the connection speeds of systems issuing requests to the Akamai network has created a one-of-a-kind view into broadband adoption around the globe. Making use of that data, Akamai's quarterly State of the Internet report identifies both the countries and US states with the fastest and slowest average connection speeds exhibited by IP addresses originating from those respective geographies.

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