Akamai: Global average, peak Internet connection speeds continue to rise

But while Internet connection speeds grow, so do DDoS attacks, according to the cloud company's latest industry survey.

While the growth might be small in some regards, Internet connection speeds continued to improve on a global basis, virtually across the board, based on Akamai's State of the Internet report for the first quarter of 2013.

Published on Tuesday morning, the quarterly study examines topics such as network connectivity rates, prominent security threats, and broadband adoption and availability around the globe.

To gain perspective on how wide a net Akamai analysts have cast, the cloud and mobile solutions company estimated that the total number of unique Web users connecting to its platform in Q1 toppled one billion.

Here are some of the big numbers to know from Q1 as far as connectivity speeds go:

  • The global average connection speed grew by four percent to 3.1 Mbps (up from 2.9 Mbps) on a quarterly basis.
  • They grew by 17 percent on an annual basis.
  • The average peak connection speed increased by 9.2 percent to 18.4 Mbps on a quarterly basis.
  • The same figure grew by 36 percent on an annual basis.
  • Global broadband adoption increased 5.8 percent to 46 percent on a quarterly basis.

However, there were a few other increases of an unwelcome kind.

Approximately 154 different organizations reported a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack during the quarter. Akamai customers, in particular, reported 208 attacks -- up from 200 in Q4.

Akamai broke the latter group down by segment. The hardest hit group was the enterprise, with 35 percent reporting DDoS attacks. They were followed by the financial industry with 32 percent, then media with 22 percent, and then seven percent directed on "high tech" customers. The public sector accounted for four percent.

David Belson, the editor behind Akamai's latest State of the Internet report, reflected in the study about these two growing factors, clearly at odds with each other but paradoxically connected as well.

This quarter's State of the Internet Report shows continued positive growth in terms of Internet and broadband adoption worldwide. We have seen overall increases in average and peak connection speeds along with greater broadband penetration on both a quarterly and annual basis. However, the levels of malicious activity we've observed show no signs of abating, as evidenced by the ongoing rise in DDoS attacks. This reinforces the continued need for vigilance by organizations that are conducting business and maintaining a presence on the Internet.

Expect another big report from Akamai later this week, although this one will pertain more to financials than Internet traffic. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company is scheduled to report second quarter earnings on Wednesday, July 24 after the bell.

As a preview, Wall Street is looking for Akamai to deliver earnings of 46 cents per share on a revenue of $374.15 million.