Where is the Internet Fastest?
Are you getting the Internet speeds you’re paying for? How does your state or country stack up against others in terms of average Internet speeds? These are just two of many questions answered by Akamai’s State of the Internet Report for the first quarter of 2014. Read on...
Internet Speeds and Geography
Akamai is one world’s largest content-delivery networks. It stores frequently-accessed Web pages from major news media, download libraries, and other high-traffic Web sites in a myriad of caching servers all over the world. When you request a Web page from one of Akamai’s client’s, your request is first routed to the nearest Akamai server. If what you requested isn’t there (or it's not the latest version), a copy is fetched from the source and delivered to you. It all happens transparently and rapidly, if the Internet is running well. Therefore, Akamai has a great interest in the state of the Internet, and shares its monitoring findings with us.
Among the things that Akamai monitors is “average Internet speed.” Here, we are not talking about the average speed of the connection between you and your ISP, but the average speed of all data flowing through your ISP’s internal network and across ISP boundaries to other ISPs’ networks. It’s the difference between measuring average speeds on interstate trips versus average speeds on local city streets.
The color-coded map shown here gives average speeds for the USA in Mbps (megabits per second). Red states are slowest; yellow are intermediate; green are fastest. There aren’t many surprises here. (Figures for other countries are shown below.)
The densely-populated Northeast states have the highest average speeds. Virginia is Number One, in fact, primarily due to the heavy presence of bandwidth-gobbling military and government users. The rest of the top five fastest areas are Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia.
The Great Lakes area is pale green, indicating higher-than-average average speeds in those states. Washington State is as green as New York, and Utah is greener than most. California is a bit paler green than one might expect of Silicon Valley’s home State. The sparsely populated Western states and most of the Deep South are below average; Colorado is right in the middle of the pack, ranked 28, with average speed of 9.7 Mbps.
Alaska came in dead last, with average speed of 7.0 Mbps. But Arkansas, Kentucky, Montana, and West Virginia are close to the bottom, all with less than 8.0 Mbps. At least Alaska has a decent excuse -- it's probably harder to install cabling across certain areas of the frozen tundra.
What About the Rest of the World?
So far we've talked about Internet connection speeds in the USA. But if this an Olympic sport, Uncle Sam's team wouldn't even make the top ten, with an average of 10.5 Mbps. South Korea takes the gold medal in average Internet speed, with a very impressive 23.6 Mbps average. Japan, a distant second at 14.6 Mbps takes silver, and Hong Kong gets bronze with 13.3 Mbps. (The global average is 3.9Mbps.) If your home country appears in the Top Ten shown below, give yourself a pat on the back and download a detailed map of the universe to celebrate.
- South Korea 23.6 Mbps
- Japan 14.6 Mbps
- Hong Kong 13.3 Mbps
- Switzerland 12.7 Mbps
- Netherlands 12.4 Mbps
- Latvia 12.0 Mbps
- Sweden 11.6 Mbps
- Czech Republic 11.2 Mbps
- Finland 10.7 Mbps
- Ireland 10.7 Mbps
Why Does This Matter?
We've come a long way since the days when a 5 kilobits/second dialup was the best you could get in most places. Now we measure in megabits, and gigabit fiber is starting to roll out in some areas.
But it really doesn’t matter if you have a 40 Mbps connection to your ISP’s router, half a mile away, when most of the trip that data must take between a Web server and you is moving at less than 15 Mbps. The lesson is that if you can save money by buying a lower maximum speed from your ISP, do so. Just make sure it’s at least as fast as your area’s average speed. Take into account multiple simultaneous users in your home or office, too.
You can read the entire Akamai State of the Internet report http://www.akamai.com/dl/akamai/akamai-soti-q114.pdf to see the complete list of U.S. States ranked by average speed, and some other interesting tidbits.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 27 Aug 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Where is the Internet Fastest? (Posted: 27 Aug 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved