Reminder: Google DNS can slow down Apple TV streaming

Reminder: Google DNS can slow down Apple TV streaming

Summary: The experience of one Mac developer with his new Apple TV box, offers a reminder to the tech-savvy "power user" that Google DNS and OpenDNS may take a serious toll on performance video streaming.

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The experience of one Mac developer with his new Apple TV box, offers a reminder to the tech-savvy "power user" that Google DNS and OpenDNS may take a serious toll on performance video streaming.

On his blog, Joe Maller wrote that he had a fast Internet connection (15 - 20 Mbps), and so he was shocked when his Apple TV reported that it would be several hours before he could start watching his HD video. The culprit in his case was Google DNS.

It appears that Google DNS and OpenDNS don't mix well with the way that distributed video is served up. This can be Apple TV or YouTube.

This totally makes sense. iTunes’ video content is delivered by Akamai who has distributed massive datastores around the world so those large files originate from nearby servers and spend less time getting switched around the network. Akamai somehow uses our DNS routing to determine our location. If Google DNS or OpenDNS routes everyone to Akamai the same way, then those Akamai nodes and the pipes leading to them get overwhelmed.

Ironically, people feel that they're doing the right thing by switching over to OpenDNS or Google DNS. In this case, it appears to be the wrong choice. Maller points out, that in this case, it is the "tech-vanguard" that will take the hit here. Most non-savvy users will simply hook into their ISP's DNS.

After switching from Google DNS, Maller said his Apple TV rentals were ready in less than 30 seconds.

Topics: Browser, Apple, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Networking

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11 comments
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  • akamai bug here

    Akamai relies on your DNS infrastructure to translate hostname into the appropriate IP address ( as seen by akamai ).

    That is not part of DNS specifications. They hacked the DNS to implement a functionnality. No wonder the functionnality goes AWOL at any configuration change.

    Of course at the end of the day you are the one suffering from it, but akamai fault anyway.
    s_souche
    • RE: Reminder: Google DNS can slow down Apple TV streaming

      @s_souche It also happens to work extremely well and limits superfluous network traffic and potential congestion by making sure heaping gobs of data come to you from somewhere near your location or on your continent and not causing congestion on a data pipe between continents or from coast to coast.

      It's a brilliant implementation, whether it meets version zero of the Internet built-out plan or not.
      lelandhendrix@...
  • RE: Reminder: Google DNS can slow down Apple TV streaming

    I switched over to OpenDNS after Comcast's DNS servers failed twice in a week. The Netflix streaming on the xbox has seemed to work fine since switching the dns two weeks ago.
    Anti Fanboy
  • RE: Reminder: Google DNS can slow down Apple TV streaming

    I wonder if the Film Board of Canada is using Google and OpenDNS? Because I have a 21 mbps connection, but their iPad app keeps reporting that my connection is 150k. That's just nuts.
    ewelch
  • This is worth a more indepth article... as apposed to this fluff piece.

    I use Open DNS and have not seen any issues to speak of, but now I want to know more regarding this.
    james@...
  • I'm not sure buy this theory

    I use both Google and OpenDNS and have done so for years, and I've been using Internet TV since before the 1st generation Apple TV showed up. I've never seen a throughput or latency problem on them that I could trace back to DNS.

    Steven
    anonymous
    • RE: Reminder: Google DNS can slow down Apple TV streaming

      @sjvn@... It depends on the server from which you are requesting the data. Obviously not every single video streaming service/server isngoing to behave the same way.

      If your content is coming from a single fixed ip, then of course you won't be affected.
      lelandhendrix@...
    • RE: Reminder: Google DNS can slow down Apple TV streaming

      @sjvn@... I had to stop downloading my movies on the Apple TV and instead download them in iTunes on my Mac. How do I set this OpenDNS ?
      ArthurB1955
  • Akamai responded on twitter.

    Looks like this article is possibly at least partially true:

    http://twitter.com/#!/Akamai/status/16927585028014080
    OwlBoy
  • Response from Open DNS

    I reached out to Open DNS and they responded in their forum saying that this shouldn't be a problem unless you are far from one of their servers as is the case for people in Australia, NZ, and parts of Asia. For everyone in North America this should be a moot point. http://forums.opendns.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=8380&page=1#Item_1
    uscrules1
  • RE: Reminder: Google DNS can slow down Apple TV streaming

    Not true, well, if you don't know what you are doing.
    james347