Friday, May 4, 2012

Akamai's "state of the internet": A report from Daejon

Akamai has released its State of the Internet report for the fourth quarter of 2011.  Readers of this blog will know that I've been following those reports somewhat regularly in recent years, most recently in a post last fall. This latest report takes on even greater interest now that I've moved to Daejon in order to join the faculty of KAIST.   You see, Daegu and Daejon  (spelled Taegu and Taejon in the Akamai report) topped the list of the worlds cities with the fastest average broadband connection speeds, as shown in Figure 9 of the report.  In fact, they were the only two cities with average connection speeds above 20 Mbps.
In this era of increasing use of big-data and data visualization on the internet, the Akamai report is well worth reading, and reading carefully with an eye toward data sources, sample size and possible sampling error.  Even more interesting and useful than the downloadable quarterly State of the Internet report, are the online tools that can be accessed on the same page of the Akamai web site.  They allow the easy creation of line graphs comparing data from different countries.   For example, Figure 8 of Akamai's quarterly report contains the table presented here (click to see a full-size version), along with a world map that shows  the location of leading countries.  Although this static picture is interesting, it is possible to create a more informative picture of what is happening in those countries by using the data visualization tool on the website to create and download a line graph from the data made available.  
I've done so and the graph is presented here (click to see a full-size version).   It shows the average broadband connection speeds for the top five nations in Figure 8 by quarter, for over four years from the third quarter of 2007 through the end of 2011.  This line graph is only one small example of what is made possible by Akamai's  "State of the Internet Data Visualization" tool.  Indeed, it is possible to compare data across time for many different combinations of nations.   I found it very interesting to note that the world map presented on the Akamai site contains data for North Korea, but only if you hover over that country with the mouse pointer.  Data for North Korea are not available on the drop down menu of nations and individual U.S. states.  For the record, North Korea shows an average connection speed of 1,012 kbps, or just over 1 Mbps.
There is much, much more that could be said about the gathering and reporting of big data on internet trends, but I will leave that for future posts, while I continue to enjoy "Daejon-speed" broadband internet.  As always, comments are welcome.

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