Broadband speeds and adoption are up -- but so are attacks

Akamai's latest 'State of the Internet' report shows steady rise in broadband adoption and speeds, IPv6 usage -- and DDoS attacks

Over the course of 2013, mobile and wired broadband's grew faster throughout the world and IPv6 usage rose slowly -- but DDoS attacks were as aggressive as ever and IPv4 address space continued to run out at a steady pace.

These and many other findings are part of Akamai's "State of the Internet" report for Q3 2013, a quarterly survey conducted by Akamai that covers broadband and wireless connectivity, network security, and other metrics harvested through Akamai's own Intelligent Platform.

DDos attacks spiked in Q3 2013

Since Akamai's stats focus on the Internet as a whole, the report's section on security dealt with wide-scale DDoS attacks. On the whole, such attacks were up sharply from 2012, with 807 attacks registered through Akamai's networks in Q1 through Q3 2013, as opposed to 768 for all of 2012.

What's more, a good chunk of the attacks for Q3 focused on port 445, the same port exploited by the infamous Conficker and Sasser worms. (This might be a reflection of the relatively large amount of Windows XP systems remaining in service.)

China leapt into first place as the source of attacks, with 35 percent originating from there. No. 2 is Indonesia, the former attack leader, with 20 percent; and No. 3 is the United States, with 11 percent. But one deceptive aspect of these statistics -- which Akamai acknowledges -- is that the attacker might not always be in the same geographic location as the attack source.

IPv4: Still running out, IPv6 not yet replacing it

Another area of concern the report touches on is the exhaustion of worldwide IPv4 address space, which continued unabated in 2013. ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) is now down to its last two blocks of 16.7 million IPv4 addresses, and delegated some 6.6 million addresses during Q3 2013.

Uptake of IPv6 in the United States is still limited, but a few individual ISPs are leading the charge: Google Fiber delivered 51 percent of its traffic as IPv6 -- not surprising given the overall newness of its infrastructure -- and Verizon Wireless showed up in second place with 39 percent, which befits its commitment to have all its 4G LTE customers use IPv6 addresses and routing.

The United States still lags in terms of connection speeds and broadband penetration worldwide, with South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Netherlands consistently ranking highest in those categories. On the other hand, the average and peak connection speeds by state have been trending upward, and both high-speed broadband (speeds greater than 10Mbps) and broadband connectivity generally are on the rise.

That said, the rise in high-speed broadband is more pronounced than the rise in connectivity, hinting there's more being done to speed up existing broadband deployments than to roll out wired broadband to a wider audience. One possible reason for this asymmetry: the growth of mobile broadband connectivity in Q3 2013, which might be stealing some of the impetus for providers to roll out more wired broadband.

Mobile: Getting faster, but incomplete data hampers the picture

Akamai dedicated an entire section of its report to mobile broadband, courtesy of data contributed by Ericsson. The report notes that of the four major mobile providers in the United States -- which were referred to in the report only as "US-1" through "US-4" -- the slowest had an average speed of 2.1Mbps, while the fastest was 6.4Mbps. The world leader for mobile broadband speed was provider in Russia, which clocked in at 9.5Mbps on the average.

Unfortunately, it's rather clear Ericsson's data sample is lopsided, since it reports no results for two of the biggest broadband markets worldwide: South Korea or Japan. That's a problematic omission, especially in the light of South Korean carriers SK Telecom and LG U+ now planning services with theoretical speeds of up to 300Mbps.

But even with this data set, some other interesting trends emerged. Data usage for voice calls remains on the rise, even if not by the same leaps and bounds as mobile data in general -- a hint that voice calling is still widely used in the countries surveyed.

This story, "Broadband speeds and adoption are up -- but so are attacks," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.


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