Cloud provider Akamai Technologies regularly publishes reports on the current state of the internet, technical trends and current threats. The State of the Internet is a fascinating source of information for anyone interested in taking a closer look at how the World Wide Web is evolving.

The latest report (released in mid-2014) contains several interesting figures that we would like to share with you. They show how Switzerland is at the forefront when it comes to the web – on top of the list when it comes to positives, and nowhere to be seen when it comes to the negatives.

Need for Speed
The broadband limit of 4 MBit/s has been broken. Globally, the average speed has increased to 4.6 MBit/s thanks to the steady expansion of networks. South Korea is the leader with an average of 24.6 MBit/s, followed by Hong Kong (15.7) and Switzerland (14.9). Next in line are Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Latvia, Ireland, Czech Republic and Romania. The trend is similar in terms of the percentage of high broadband connectivity (faster than 10 MBit/s): 78 % of users in South Korea have high speed connections, 56 % in Switzerland and 54 % in Japan, respectively. But the future will demand even higher speeds, particularly for streaming videos in ultra HD. 4K readiness (speeds above 15 MBit/s) has practically doubled globally over the past year, with South Korea leading the way with 62 % of connections ready for 4K. Second to fifth place go to Hong Kong (34 %), Japan, Switzerland (33 %) and Netherlands (30 %).

IPv6 on the rise
Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) appears to be slowly but surely gaining a foothold. it’s certainly high time considering that in Asia, Oceania and Europe, the number of IP addresses that can be allocated have become quite scarce, with the availability in many places approaching zero. This is set to change with the additional functions provided by IPv6, and the number of IPv6 requests is growing – particularly in European countries. At the top of the list is Belgium (19 % of data traffic), followed by Switzerland (10 %), Luxembourg and the USA. Germany (5.8 %) ranks seventh and France (4.8 %) ranks eighth.

What's driving the internet forward – and where is it going

An insatiable hacking desire…
Defending against attacks on computers and systems is the daily bread of the people entrusted with this task. Akamai studied which countries were the launch pads for the greatest number of attacks. China was the leader (not surprisingly) with 43 %, followed by ‘up-and-coming’ Indonesia (15 %). The USA was the leader among Western countries (13 %). Further down the list were Taiwan (3.7 %), India (2.1 %), Russia (2 %), Brazil (1.7 %), South Korea (1.4 %), Turkey and Romania (1.2 % each).
And which (open) back doors are used for the attacks? Port 80 (www/http, 15 %) replaced Microsoft-DS (Port 445, 14 %) at the top; telnet (Port 23, 10 %) ranked third, followed by SSL (Port 443, https), Microsoft SQL Server (Port 1433, 6.7 %), http Alternate, Microsoft Terminal Services, SSH, MySQL and Microsoft RPC. Interestingly, DDoS attacks decreased overall compared to 2013. Instead, problems like Heartbleed (the program bug in OpenSSL that breaks in via secured connections – of all things) gained the most attention. However, DDoS attacks using the traditional, rather insecure network management protocol SNMP remain a problem, as do the insidious Zeus malware used for data theft (critical company data or access to bank accounts) and the Storm Trojan. Recent developments has seen the increase in the frequency of DNS hijacking and poisoning, whereby the attacker takes control of DNS records and undertakes criminal activities via the site.

And what about mobile phones?
Mobile data traffic is a rapidly growing area. In 2007, these data connections made up just a fraction of the use of mobile networks; today 10 times more data is transmitted than voice calls.
However, here in Switzerland we have some catching up to do in terms of the capacity of the networks. The standard 4G/LTE is still far from available in all places and the new 4G+ available in some cities only makes up a small portion of users. Similarly, we lag far behind in the international speed rankings: New Zealand comes out on top at 26 MBit/s, followed by the UAE, China, Singapore, Denmark and Luxembourg. Switzerland ranks 14th at 18 MBit/s. Our neighbors are even further behind: in Germany (23th) and Austria, the average even falls below 16 MBit/s. The US ranks 32th with less than 14 MBit/s.

Is this the end of the road?
The connection speed and data throughput will also grow rapidly in the years to come. Fiber optic networks (today there are already providers in Switzerland delivering upload and download speeds of 940 MBit/s) and faster mobile connections (more or less gapless 4G coverage or the doubly fast 4G+/LTE Advanced) will open up many new possibilities. Film downloads, TV streaming, uploading of videos and downloading apps and music even while on the go are likely to become the norm, particularly in the area of mobile devices. This requires that unlimited data plans first become affordable and secondly aren’t slowed down to a snail’s pace after a few gigabytes have been downloaded.

What’s driving the internet forward – and where is it going?

Sandro Bertschinger

He didn't find computers very interesting for quite some time. An Amiga 500 as a games machine was the high point at that time. Computers began to move into his focus with the advent of the internet and the possibility of building cool websites. In 2001, he crossed paths with an internet company by coincidence.