How changes in the world's web traffic affect your business

Tracking the world's web traffic

On a daily basis businesses across the world consider how they are connecting with their increasingly hyper-connected customers.

They rely on the internet to deliver fantastic experiences and facilitate instant communication wherever and whenever their customers want. And increasingly businesses are looking for insight that will help them to further improve that connection.

We speak to John Dillon, VP of Marketing EMEA at Akamai about the importance of tracking and analysing web traffic and what this means for businesses.

TechRadar Pro: Akamai recently announced that the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics drove more than 1Tbps of online video traffic across the Akamai Intelligent Platform. Can you tell us more about the platform and what it does?

John Dillon: The platform is made up of a distributed network of servers and intelligent software, delivering over two trillion interactions daily. No one delivers more web traffic than Akamai – up to 30% of all Web traffic at any given time – and 90% of Internet users are a single network hop away.

The Intelligent Platform consists of over 147,000 servers in 92 countries and constantly makes decisions about how to route traffic based on comprehensive knowledge of network conditions combining real-time data on traffic type, bottlenecks, devices and connection methods.

The platform can provide device-level detection and optimisation, and deliver great business insights about a company's customers and online habits, as well as identify, absorb, and block security threats.

It's also worth noting that our Sochi traffic actually peaked at 3.5Tbps during the men's hockey semi-final between the U.S. and Canada.

TRP: Presumably the Intelligent Platform can provide you with very broad analysis of Internet activity. What do you do with that information?

JD: It does, and we use the information primarily to ensure that content is delivered to end users in the most efficient way to give them a seamless online experience regardless of their connection method and device.

But we also use it to help our customers understand the trends that are happening online across the globe in terms of connectivity, IPv6 penetration, mobile usage, security attacks and broadband speeds.

We've been publishing the quarterly State of the Internet report for over five years now – the data has given us, and anyone that looks at the reports, an unparalleled insight.

We now have a companion iOS application and online visualisations that allow anyone to see how the data has changed over time.

TRP: What does the data tell you about increasingly large and sophisticated attacks on the internet and what do you think is likely to happen as more and more enterprises move to use cloud services?

JD: DDoS attacks are getting bigger in scale all the time. Earlier this year the web saw an attack reach 400 Gbps which is astounding! We saw something interesting in Q3 2013 though - for the first quarter since we started tracking DDoS attacks the volume was down on the previous quarter.

This is not a glimmer of hope though - at the end of the third quarter, our customers had already reported more DDoS attacks than during the whole of 2012.

As for the impact on enterprises that consume cloud services, it's really a matter of choosing the right suppliers. A cloud service should be designed with failure in mind so that it can react and work around failures or blockages as they occur – which they inevitably will.

TRP: Do you enable customers to track activities on the Internet, such as DDoS attacks or where traffic peaks are occurring?

JD: 15-30% of the world's web traffic is delivered over the Akamai platform. We combine this global scope with constant data collection to construct an accurate and comprehensive picture of what's happening on the internet. Our customers can use the Luna Control Centre to manage and monitor their services in great detail.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.