Akamai Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications, today released its First 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, overall attack traffic, network connectivity/availability issues, and traffic patterns across leading Web properties and digital media providers.
The report also includes insight into NTP reflection and WordPress XML-RPC pingback attacks, the status of IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 adoption, and global 4K readiness.
Data and graphics from the First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report can also be found on the Akamai State of the Internet site and through the Akamai State of the Internet app for iPads and iPhones.
European Highlights from Akamai’s First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report:
Average and Average Peak Connection Speeds: impressive year-over-year gains observed
The global average connection speed continued to increase, growing by 1.8 percent quarter-over-quarter to reach 3.9 Mbps. Given the long-term sustained growth trend in average connection speeds, it is expected that next quarter the global average connection speed will surpass the 4 Mbps broadband threshold.
Globally, the average connection speed grew 24 percent year-over-year and strong quarterly growth was seen across nine of the top ten countries/regions, including an 8 percent increase to 23.6 Mbps in South Korea (ranked #1 globally), which is now 9 Mbps ahead of second place Japan (14.6 Mbps). Latvia (#6) and Finland (#9) both showed impressive quarter-over-quarter increases, growing by 15 percent and 18 percent respectively.
With a 5.8 percent quarter-over-quarter increase, Switzerland pushed ahead of the Netherlands to regain its top slot among the surveyed European countries, reaching an average connection speed of 12.7 Mbps. The Netherlands was close behind, achieving an average speed of 12.4 Mbps in the first quarter, with a further seven European countries achieving average connection speeds above the 10 Mbps ‘high broadband’ threshold: Sweden (11.6 Mbps), Czech Republic (11.2 Mbps), Finland (10.7 Mbps), Ireland (10.7 Mbps), Denmark (10.5 Mbps), Norway (10.1 Mbps) and Belgium (10.0 Mbps).
Year-over-year, global average connection speeds grew by 24 percent. In Europe, double-digit percentage yearly increases were observed in all surveyed countries, with growth rates ranging from 17 percent in Hungary to 65 percent in Turkey. In total, four European countries saw year-over-year changes in excess of 40 percent (Ireland, Russia, Spain and Turkey) with a further seven achieving a yearly growth rate of 30 percent or more (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom and France).
While global average peak connection speeds dropped 8.6 percent in the first quarter of 2014, year-over-year trends remained positive with a 13 percent increase. In Europe, Romania was the only country to achieve an average peak connection speed above 50 Mbps (54.4 Mbps) in the first quarter of 2014, while a further five European countries achieved average peak connection speeds above 40 Mbps; the Netherlands (45.2 Mbps), Switzerland (44.8 Mbps), Belgium (44.6 Mbps), Sweden (42.7 Mbps) and the United Kingdom (42.2 Mbps).
Year-over-year changes were nearly all positive across European countries. Italy was the only country to see a decline (0.7 percent) in average peak connection speeds, while seven European countries achieved an impressive year-over-year growth rate of 20 percent or more; Ireland (27 percent), Norway (27 percent), Sweden (23 percent), the Netherlands (22 percent), Belgium (22 percent), Finland (21 percent) and the United Kingdom (20 percent).
The general trend of the year-over-year increases observed in average peak connection speeds highlights the ongoing improvements in the quality of broadband Internet connectivity across European countries.
European High Broadband Connectivity: yearly growth in excess of 100 percent observed
European high broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption rates remained strong, with Switzerland and the Netherlands leading the region with adoption rates of 45 percent and 44 percent respectively.
A further eight countries had more than 30 percent of connections to Akamai at speeds of 10 Mbps or above; Denmark (35 percent), Belgium (35 percent), Czech Republic (34 percent), Finland (34 percent), Sweden (34 percent), the United Kingdom (32 percent), Romania (31 percent) and Norway (30 percent). Italy and Turkey were the only European countries in the first quarter of 2014 with a high broadband adoption rate below 10 percent (4.3 percent and 3.2 percent respectively).
Five European countries saw their high broadband adoption rates grow by more than 100 percent year-over-year; Turkey (250 percent), Spain (188 percent) France (144 percent), Portugal (138 percent) and Ireland (111 percent). All other European countries surveyed experienced extremely strong yearly growth, with Sweden’s 34 percent being the smallest increase seen.
While there continues to be room for improvement in high broadband adoption and average peak connection speeds in some areas of the world, the trends we’re seeing remain very positive,” said David Belson, the author of the report. “Steady year-over-year growth suggests that a strong, global foundation is being built for the enjoyment of next generation content and services like 4K video and increasingly connected homes and offices, and that connectivity will continue to evolve to support the growing demands these emerging technologies will place on the Internet.”
European 4K Readiness: Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden lead the way
With 4K (Ultra HD) adaptive bitrate streams generally requiring between 10-20 Mbps of bandwidth, the new ‘4K Readiness’ metric presented for the first time in the First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report highlights the percentage of connections to Akamai at speeds above 15 Mbps, with the goal of identifying candidate geographies most likely to sustain such streams. The findings do not account for other ‘readiness’ factors, including the availability of 4K-encoded content or 4K-capable televisions and players.
Globally, 11 percent of connections were at speeds of 15 Mbps or above in the first quarter of 2014. With 60 percent 4K readiness, South Korea headed the top 10 countries/regions on the 4K readiness list, while Japan had 32 percent of its connections to Akamai at 15 Mbps or above. A total of six European countries made it into the top 10 countries/regions ranking; Switzerland (#4), the Netherlands (#6), Sweden (#7), Norway (#8), Finland (#9) and Czech Republic (#10).
Within Europe, the top three countries (Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden) had more than one-fifth of their connections at speeds over 15 Mbps in the first quarter of 2014. Switzerland’s 23 percent 4K readiness rate was the highest level seen in a European country, while Czech Republic had the lowest level of 4K readiness with 17 percent.
The impressive year-over-year changes in European countries point to the improved adoption of high-speed broadband connectivity that will ultimately drive higher levels of 4K readiness.
Attack Traffic and Security: Port 445 remains the most targeted port
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.
During the first quarter of 2014, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 194 unique countries/regions – six more than the fourth quarter of 2013. China was again responsible for originating the most attacks, but dropped slightly from 43 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to 41 percent in the first quarter of 2014. The United States followed in second place, but also saw a decline from 19 percent to 11 percent, while Indonesia experienced a slight uptick from 5.7 percent to 6.8 percent to secure third place.
Overall, the concentration of attacks decreased significantly compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, with the top 10 countries/regions originating 75 percent of observed attacks (down from 88 percent in the prior quarter). Europe contributed just over 16 percent of all observed attacks in the first quarter of 2014.
Port 445 (Microsoft-DS) remained the most targeted port in the first quarter of 2014, but the associated attack traffic volume fell to 14 percent of observed attack traffic (down from 30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013). Conversely, Port 5000 (Universal Plug & Play/UPnP) saw a significant increase during the quarter, from less than a tenth of a percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to 12 percent this quarter – an increase of more than 100 times. Port 23 (Telnet) ranked third, with 8.7 percent of observed attack traffic.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack Traffic: European customers report a 50 percent increase in number of DDoS attacks this quarter
In addition to observations on attack traffic, the State of the Internet Report includes insights into DDoS attacks based on reports from Akamai’s customers. The number of DDoS attacks reported in the first quarter of 2014 declined to 283, down from the 346 reported in the last quarter of 2013. This represents a 20 percent decrease quarter-over-quarter, and a 27 percent increase year-over-year.
While most regions of the world saw a decline in reported DDoS attacks during the first quarter of 2014, Europe experienced a 50 percent increase in DDoS attacks compared to the previous quarter. This surge in attacks was primarily against large retail outlets within the United Kingdom, and against sites supporting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Globally, the enterprise sector saw a 49 percent quarter-over-quarter reduction in attack traffic, while public sector attack traffic grew by 34 percent, primarily attributable to attacks against government targets within Singapore.
IPv4 and IPv6: European countries continue to lead the way in IPv6 adoption
In the first quarter of 2014, more than 795 million IPv4 addresses from 240 countries/regions connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform - nearly 1.6 percent more than in the fourth quarter of 2013, and 7.8 percent more than a year prior.
Among European countries appearing in the top 10 global countries list, the quarter-over-quarter changes in unique IPv4 addresses ranged from 0.6 percent in the United Kingdom (ranked #6 globally) to 2.4 percent in France (#7).
European countries continued to lead in IPv6 adoption, taking eight of the top 10 country/region slots; Belgium (#1), Switzerland (#2), Germany (#3), Luxembourg (#4), Romania (#5), France (#8), Norway (#9) and Czech Republic (#10).
Belgium grew nearly 200 percent quarter-over quarter, jumping into first place with 14 percent of its traffic over IPv6. Germany (#3) also saw impressive quarterly growth at 33 percent.
The report also lists the top 20 network providers by number of IPv6 requests made to Akamai during the first quarter. The greatest request volumes came from cable and wireless providers in the United States; of these, Verizon Wireless had the highest percentage of requests over IPv6 (45 percent), while 12 other providers had more than 10 percent of their requests to Akamai over IPv6 during the first quarter.
European providers were also heavily represented in the top 20 listing, including three providers from Belgium that made strong showings (Telenet, Brutel and Belgacom); of these, Brutel headed the pack with 24 percent of its requests to Akamai over IPv6 during the quarter.
Mobile Connectivity: Ukraine leads Europe in mobile broadband adoption
In the first quarter of 2014, 56 countries around the world qualified for inclusion within the mobile connectivity section, which encompasses usage from smartphones, tablets, computers and other devices that connect to the Internet through mobile network providers. It should be noted that, starting with the First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, mobile connectivity is being aggregated at a country level, rather than at a provider level.
Average mobile connection speeds among qualifying countries ranged from 14.7 Mbps in South Korea to 1.0 Mbps in Argentina; a total of 20 countries/regions had average connection speeds above the 4 Mbps threshold.
The average peak mobile connection speeds among qualifying countries spanned a broad range, from 114.2 Mbps in Australia down to just 5.0 Mbps in Iran. In total, 43 countries showed average peak connection speeds above 10 Mbps.
The State of the Internet Report now includes a broadband adoption statistic within the Mobile Connectivity section. This quarter, Ukraine had the highest mobile broadband adoption, with 89 percent of mobile connections to Akamai from the country at speeds above 4 Mbps. Other European high performers include Denmark (84 percent) and Sweden (81 percent).
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