Internet of Things driving global connection: Akamai Technologies

Akamai Technologies' third-quarter 2014 State of the Internet report has shown that connected devices are playing a part in internet usage and traffic.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The so-called Internet of Things continues to show growth, and is expected to drive positive impacts on internet usage, IP address consumption, and internet traffic, according to the Akamai Technologies' third-quarter 2014 State of the Internet report.

"One need only look to sheer number of connected device and smart home-related announcements that came out of the 2015 International CES to see that consumers are continuing to adopt and expect more from connected technology and services," said David Belson, editor of the report.

"The strong year-over-year growth trends illustrated in this quarter's report show that the internet is evolving and expanding to meet the growing demands of our increasingly connected lifestyles."

The report showed that for the second consecutive quarter, the global average connection speed remained above the 4Mbps mark, despite a slight decline in the third quarter of 2014, dropping 2.8 percent to 4.5Mbps.

On a country-by-country basis, quarterly changes in average connection speeds were mixed across the top countries, with six seeing increases, and the remaining four seeing declines, but all of the top 10 remained above the 10Mbps "high broadband" threshold. Singapore saw the largest quarter-over-quarter growth, with 18 percent, while the lowest was in Japan, which was only up 0.8 percent from the second quarter. In addition, Ireland saw a growth of 10 percent or more from the previous quarter.

Globally, a total of 84 qualifying countries saw average connection speeds increase in the third quarter, with growth rates ranging from 52 percent in Madagascar to 1.9Mbps, down to a mere 0.1 percent in the Dominican Republic to 1.6Mbps.

Yearly increases were seen in 129 qualifying countries, with rates ranging from 150 percent in Jersey, down to 0.2 percent in Ecuador.

Similarly, the global average peak connection speed saw a slight decline in the third quarter, dropping 2.3 percent to 24.8Mbps. This was partially contributed to by countries among the top 10 that saw average peak speeds decline quarter over quarter. For instance, Israel lost 9.9 percent, Romania dropped 6.9 percent, and Taiwan decreased by 5.3 percent. Meanwhile, Hong Kong had the highest average peak connection speed, at 84.6Mbps, followed closely by Singapore, with 83Mbps.

According to the report, all top 10 countries saw significant increases in average connection speeds compared to the previous year. Uruguay led the group, with a year-over-year change of 334 percent, while Luxembourg saw speeds more than double to 54.4Mbps, up 130 percent.

In line with the quarterly declines in connection speed, the adoption rates of global high broadband, which is defined as 10Mbps or more, fell 0.5 percent in the third quarter, the report indicated. In contrast to previous quarters, where there was strong quarterly growth, the largest jump was just 8.4 percent in Sweden.

Looking at year-over-year change, the global high broadband adoption rate was 22 percent -- lower than the 65 percent increases that were recorded in the first and second quarters of 2014. Among the top 10 countries, Japan was the only one to see a year-over-year increase in adoption below 10 percent, while both Romania and Israel saw adoption rates more than double, at 49 percent and 44 percent, respectively.

The global broadband adoption rate reached 60 percent, an increase of 1 percent quarter over quarter. South Korea remained the country with the highest level of broadband adoption, at 96 percent, with Bulgaria following close behind, at 95 percent.

The report also indicated that in the third quarter of 2014, over 790 million unique IPv4 addresses from 246 countries connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform -- 0.3 percent more than the previous quarter, and 3.9 percent more than in the third quarter of 2013. Akamai said that while it believes there were nearly 800 million IPv4 addresses, it represents more than 1 billion web users.

(Image: Akamai)

Looking at the top 10 countries in the third quarter, the unique IP address count in the United States was flat quarter over quarter, seeing a gain of approximately 20,000 addresses. In addition, Brazil, France, and Russia also saw nominal quarterly increases in unique IPv4 address counts, while the remaining six countries saw unique IPv4 address counts slightly decline from the second quarter. Fifty eight percent of countries saw a quarter-over-quarter increase in unique IPv4 address counts, with 28 countries growing by 10 percent or more.

Akamai's report also looked at the global 4K readiness, identifying that 52 countries are most qualified, and most likely to sustain connection speeds above 15Mbps, as Ultra HD adaptive bitrate streams typically require bandwidth of between 10Mbps and 20Mbps. While down 2.8 percent quarter over quarter, readiness increased 32 percent year over year. South Korea remained the country with the highest level of 4K readiness, with two thirds of its connections to Akamai at or above 15Mbps.

In addition, the report showed that South Korea continues to have the highest average mobile connection speed, growing from 15.2Mbps to 18.2Mbps in the third quarter. Trailing not too far behind was Slovakia, with an average mobile connection speed of 10.9Mbps. Iran had the lowest average mobile connection speed, at 0.9Mbps, and was the only qualifying country with an average speed below 1Mbps.

The report also examined the percentage of connections to Akamai from mobile network providers at broadband speeds of more than 4Mbps. In the third quarter, Sweden moved ahead of Denmark for the top position at an adoption rate of 94 percent, whereas Iran, Paraguay, Croatia, and Vietnam all had mobile broadband adoption rates below 1 percent in the third quarter.

Akamai also observed attack traffic originating from source IP addresses in 201 countries. In the third quarter of 2014, China remained the top source, growing to reach 49 percent of observed traffic, nearly three times more than the United States, which was in second place. The United States saw observed traffic grow by approximately 25 percent quarter over quarter. Akamai said that China and the United States were the only two countries to originate more than 10 percent of observed global attack traffic.

At the same time, while Indonesia was second to China last quarter, it was the only country in the third quarter to see observed traffic decline from 15 percent to 1.9 percent.

Akamai highlighted that overall concentration of observed attack traffic decreased slightly in the third quarter, with the top 10 countries originating 82 percent of observed attacks, down for 84 percent last quarter. Furthermore, 64 percent of attack traffic originated from the Asia-Pacific region, which was down from 70 percent last quarter.

Sectors that saw an increasing number of reported attacks target customers were in the enterprise and media and entertainment verticals, while customers in the high-tech, commerce, and public sector verticals reported fewer attacks.

Additionally, Akamai said the third quarter saw the emergence of security vulnerabilities, the growth of new distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and attacks targeting sites associated with countries that participated in World Cup matches.

(Image: Akamai)

Akamai said its customers reported 270 DDoS attacks for the second quarter in a row. Overall, this represented a 4.5 percent reduction in attacks since the beginning of 2014, and a 4 percent decrease in comparison to the third quarter of 2013. However, the number of attacks in the Asia-Pacific region rose by 25 percent from the previous quarter to 84. In contrast to this, the number of attacks fell in both the Americas, with 142 attacks, and in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, with 44 attacks.

"As the Internet of Things begins to play an increasingly more important role across our daily lives, the providers of these 'things' and their associated services need to ensure that their devices, protocols, and APIs are secure, with the goals of maintaining privacy of the associated data as well as ensuring that communications (including command/control messages and data exhaust) cannot be manipulated or injected by unauthorised third parties," Belson warned.

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