If You Want a Faster Internet Connection, Move to Delaware, Akamai Report Says

9/9/08Follow @wroush

The global network of 34,000 content distribution servers built by Cambridge, MA-based Akamai allows the company to gather massive amounts of data on Internet usage—information that it distilled and published for the first time back in May. Now the company has published its second quarterly “State of the Internet” report, detailing trends such as the number of Internet-connected devices and broadband connections in each country and providing a fascinating overall picture of the Internet and its growing pains. While the number of people and organizations using the global information network continued to increase, for example, so did the volume of attack traffic and malware.

In addition to statistics collected by Akamai’s servers, the report brings together numerous published reports of incidents around the Internet—such as the repeated Internet outages in Vermont in May and June as equipment failures, fires, and bridge construction damaged a fiber ring owned by Level 3 Communications, and the bizarre story of the Epilepsy Foundation website, which was hacked by attackers who posted hundreds of flashing images designed to induce seizures in visitors with photosensitive epilepsy.

But the most valuable part of Akamai’s report is the data from its own network—information that can’t be found anywhere else. While China was the largest source of attack traffic in the first quarter of 2008, for example, Akamai found that Japan leaped into first place in the second quarter; some 30 percent of all worms, viruses, and denial-of-service attacks originated from Internet addresses there. (China fell to third place, while the United States hung on to its second-place status, generating 22 percent of attack traffic.)

The number of unique Internet Protocol addresses detected by Akamai’s network—each address representing a separate Internet-connected device—grew 5 percent in the second quarter, to some 346 million worldwide. Nearly 30 percent of those addresses were in the United States, and about 10 percent were in China, with Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Canada, Spain, and Italy next in line. But when IP addresses are measured per capita, the Scandinavian countries continued to lead: Sweden leads the world with 0.42 unique IP addresses per citizen, followed by Norway, Iceland, and Finland. The United States is in seventh place with 0.34 IP addresses per person.

Akamai also tracks the speed at which the citizens of various countries can access the Internet. South Korea held on to its lead in this area, with 64 percent of all Internet connections boasting a speed of 5 megabits per second or more. The United States places sixth globally in broadband penetration, with only 26 percent of all connections beating 5 megabits per second, though the number of broadband connections here is increasing fast (the 26 percent figure is a 29 percent improvement on the first quarter).

Within the United States, two of the smallest states, Delaware and Rhode Island, continued to have the largest proportion of citizens enjoying broadband: 66 percent of all Internet connections in Delaware exceed 5 megabits per second, and 43 percent in Rhode Island. New York, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia round out Akamai’s “Top 10″ list of U.S. states with the largest percentage of broadband connections. At the opposite, “narrowband” end of the spectrum, the state of Washington tops the list once again, with 21 percent of all Internet connections taking place at the glacial speed of 256 kilobits per second or less. (Greg has more to say about that over at Xconomy Seattle.)

Akamai’s full report is available here. How quickly you can download the 1.5-megabyte PDF file will depend, of course, on where you live.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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