Akamai's Q2 2014 SOTI Report

Global average connection speed above the 4 Mbps “broadband” threshold for the first time

September 30, 2014

10 Min Read


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Sept. 30, 2014) – Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications, today released its Second Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report. Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform™, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds and broadband adoption across fixed and mobile networks, overall attack traffic, global 4K readiness, IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 implementation, and traffic patterns across leading Web properties and digital media providers.

The report also includes insight into the OpenSSL “Heartbleed” vulnerability, SNMP Reflection Attacks, and Storm and Zeus crimeware.

Data and graphics from the Second Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report can be found on the Akamai State of the Internet site and through the Akamai State of the Internet app for iPads and iPhones.

“The number of ‘firsts’ we’re seeing in the Second Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report make this a particularly interesting quarter,” commented David Belson, editor of the report. “We’ve experienced our first quarterly decrease in global unique IP address counts, the global average connection speed has risen above the 4 Mbps ‘broadband’ threshold, and Akamai’s customers experienced a reduction in the likelihood of repeat DDoS attacks.”

Highlights from Akamai’s Second Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report:

Global Average Connection Speeds and Global Broadband Connectivity
The global average connection speed increased 21% from the first to second quarter of the year. At 4.6 Mbps, the global average connection speed exceeded the 4 Mbps “broadband” threshold for the first time.

Eight of the top 10 countries/regions saw double-digit percentage increases from the first to the second quarter of 2014, though South Korea kept its first place average connection speed (24.6 Mbps) with only a 4% quarterly increase. Impressive 18% quarterly growth for Hong Kong (15.7 Mbps) pushed it ahead of Japan, which now matches Switzerland with an average connection speed of 14.9 Mbps. Four of the top 10 countries experienced year-over-year increases of more than 50% in average connection speeds, led by South Korea’s 84% annual rise. Yearly increases were seen in 136 qualifying countries/regions, from 197% in Uruguay (5.6 Mbps) to 1.2% in the United Arab Emirates (4.6 Mbps).

The global average peak connection speed also saw a significant uptick, with a 20% increase to 25.4 Mbps from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2014. All but one of the 139 qualifying countries/regions experienced average peak connection speed increases this quarter, ranging from 2.3% in Iraq (30.4 Mbps) to 65% in Jersey (43.2 Mbps). This is a significant improvement from the first quarter of 2014, when 92 qualifying countries/regions saw quarterly declines in their average peak connection speeds. Year over year, the global average peak connection speed was up by 34%. A total of 125 countries/regions experienced increases over the year, from 0.1% in Lebanon (4.2 Mbps) to 225% in Uruguay (49.7 Mbps).

The global high broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption rate continued to see strong growth in the second quarter of 2014, reaching 23% thanks to a 12% increase during the quarter. Six of the top 10 countries/regions had more than half of their connections to Akamai at speeds of 10 Mbps or above in the second quarter, whereas only two of the top 10 reached that level during the first quarter. Israel saw the most growth in the second quarter as compared to the prior quarter, with a 67% improvement, and while Japan saw the only decline with a nominal 0.3% decrease, it remained third on the list, with 54% of its connections at or above 10 Mbps. South Korea and Switzerland lead the pack with 78% and 56% adoption rates, respectively. Year over year, the global high broadband adoption rate was again up by 65%, the same as the first quarter of 2014. Romania and Israel boasted impressive yearly increases of 200% and 156%, respectively.

The global broadband (>4 Mbps) adoption rate grew 5.6% quarter-over-quarter to reach 59%. Both South Korea and Bulgaria reached 95% broadband adoption in the second quarter, and five other countries/regions had adoption rates of 90% or more. Quarter-over-quarter increases were seen in all but two of the 94 countries/regions that qualified for inclusion. Growth ranged from just 0.3% in Japan (86% adoption) to 1,263% in Algeria (3% adoption). Year over year, the global broadband adoption rate increased 18%, with only the Bahamas and Morocco experiencing drops in adoption. The Bahamas (71% adoption) lost 0.1% and Morocco (9.9% adoption) lost 16%.

4K Readiness
Following the introduction of “4K Readiness” in the First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, Akamai has again identified candidate geographies that are most likely to sustain connection speeds above 15 Mbps, as Ultra HD adaptive bitrate streams typically require bandwidth between 10 and 20 Mbps. The findings do not account for other “readiness” factors, including availability of 4K-encoded content or 4K-capable televisions and media players.

In total, 51 countries/regions qualified for inclusion this quarter, and 12% of connections globally were at or above the 15 Mbps threshold. This is up 17% over last quarter’s 11% readiness rate. South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan topped the list, at 62%, 34% and 33%, respectively. Year over year, the global 4K readiness rate nearly doubled, growing by 98% to 12% of all connections at 15 Mbps or above.

Attack Traffic and Security
Akamai maintains a distributed set of unadvertised agents deployed across the Internet to log connection attempts that the company classifies as attack traffic. Based on the data collected by these agents, Akamai is able to identify the top countries from which attack traffic originates, as well as the top ports targeted by these attacks. It is important to note, however, that the originating country as identified by the source IP address may not represent the nation in which an attacker resides.

In the second quarter of 2014, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 161 unique countries/regions, which was 33 fewer than the first quarter of the year. According to Akamai’s observations, the highest concentration of attacks (43%) came from China. Observed traffic from second-place Indonesia more than doubled quarter over quarter to reach 15%, while the United States followed with 13%, up slightly from last quarter’s 11%. The composition of the top 10 countries/regions remained the same from quarter to quarter, but the group was responsible for a greater portion of observed attack traffic: 84% as opposed to 75% last quarter. Furthermore, 70% of attack traffic originated from the Asia Pacific region, while the lowest volume of 0.3% was observed to originate from Africa.
Attack traffic concentration across the top 10 targeted ports increased quarter-over-quarter to 71% from 55%. For only the third time in the history of the report, Port 445 (Microsoft-DS) fell to the second-most targeted by attackers. Port 80 (WWW/HTTP) took the lead in the second quarter when its attack traffic nearly doubled to 15% but, interestingly, was not the most targeted port among any of the top 10 countries/regions.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack Traffic
In addition to observations on attack traffic, the State of the Internet Report includes insight into DDoS attacks based on reports from Akamai’s customers. Akamai customers reported 270 DDoS attacks in the second quarter, down from 283 in the first quarter, marking the second consecutive quarter with a decline and a drop of 15% year over year. This trend supports assertions from the Prolexic Q2 Global DDoS Attack Report, suggesting that volumetric attacks targeting Layers 1-4 have increased while application attacks targeting Layers 5-7 have declined.

Though the global number of DDoS attacks is down, the Americas showed an 11% increase in the number of attacks, claiming 57% of all reported attacks. Meanwhile, Asia Pacific has experienced the largest decline in reported DDoS attacks quarter over quarter, dropping 23% from the first quarter to the second, accounting for 25% of worldwide reported DDoS attacks. Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained in third place with a modest decline of 14%, amounting to 18% of all reported DDoS attacks. In the second quarter, attacks against the high tech sector continued an upward trend with a 60% increase, whereas the public sector saw the biggest decline (54%).

For the first time since Akamai began tracking repeated attacks against targets, the number of customers that saw subsequent attacks declined from one in four (26%) to nearly one in six (18%). Only two customers were targeted by DDoS attacks more than five times, with one customer seeing as many as seven total attacks, as opposed to the high of 17 attacks the previous quarter.

IPv4 and IPv6
In the second quarter of 2014, more than 788 million IPv4 addresses connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform from more than 238 unique countries/regions. For the first time in the history of the State of the Internet Report, the global unique IP address count declined quarter over quarter, by a nominal 0.9%; however, this was 4.8% more than the same time last year. While only two of the top 10 countries/regions (Brazil and Japan) saw IP address counts increase from the first quarter, 46% of all countries experienced quarter-over-quarter increases in unique IPv4 address counts, with 26 countries/regions growing by 10% or more.

“Though even a minimal quarter-to-quarter decline is unusual in the history of this report, we see no reason for concern,” said Belson. “It may be due to providers working to conserve limited IPv4 address space, or likely was a result of increased IPv6 connectivity and adoption among leading network providers. That said, globally, 69% of countries and regions still showed year-over-year increases in unique IPv4 address counts.”

As for IPv6 adoption, the largest number of requests continued to come from cable and mobile providers, led by Verizon Wireless, with 50% of its requests to Akamai coming over IPv6. Four other providers, Telenet, Brutele, Kabel Deutschland and XS4ALL had more than one-third of their requests take place over IPv6. European countries continued to dominate the IPv6 adoption list, holding seven of the top 10 positions.  

Mobile Connectivity
In the Second Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, 56 countries/regions qualified for inclusion in the mobile section. South Korea’s average mobile connection speed grew slightly from 14.7 Mbps to 15.2 Mbps to maintain its top position, while Vietnam hit a global low of 0.9 Mbps. Average peak mobile connection speeds among qualifying countries/regions ranged from 108 Mbps in Australia down to 4.7 Mbps in Vietnam.

The report also examines the percentage of connections to Akamai from mobile network providers at “broadband” speeds (more than 4 Mbps). In the second quarter, Denmark reported the highest level of mobile broadband adoption at 92%, whereas Brazil, Croatia, Paraguay, Vietnam and Bolivia all had mobile broadband adoption rates below 1%.

About the Akamai State of the Internet Report
Each quarter, Akamai publishes a “State of the Internet” report. This report includes data gathered from across the Akamai Intelligent Platform about attack traffic, broadband adoption, mobile connectivity and other relevant topics concerning the Internet and its usage, as well as trends seen in this data over time. To learn more and to access the archive of past reports, please visit www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet. To download the figures from the Second Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, please visit: http://wwwns.akamai.com/soti/soti_q214_figures.zip. 

About Akamai
Akamai® is the leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications. At the core of the Company’s solutions is the Akamai Intelligent Platform™ providing extensive reach, coupled with first class reliability, security, visibility and expertise. Akamai removes the complexities of connecting the increasingly mobile world, supporting 24/7 consumer demand, and enabling enterprises to securely leverage the cloud. To learn more about how Akamai is accelerating the pace of innovation in a hyperconnected world, please visit www.akamai.com or blogs.akamai.com, and follow @Akamai on Twitter.

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