This talk from Om Malik’s Structure conference is very good.
The Internet doesn’t work the way you think it does.
What the talk in the video does not say is that Akamai, by refusing to place caches on small and competitive ISPs’ networks, is disadvantaging competitors and new entrants — the ones with the highest bandwidth costs — and helping the monopolists grow bigger.
It seems that the Internet _does_ work the way I thought it did; Akamai’s network is not the Internet.
The presenter said that Akamai has their own real-time routing system which selects their own network links and that they are not even using TCP. In the given example where the Internet was down for days while Akamai’s customers saw virtually no impact it becomes quite clear that they are not participating in the Internet as defined by the use of open protocols over shared links.
Akamai probably routes 1/5th of all Internet traffic and this doesn’t even include all the other CDN traffic, and it is the only way video can be distributed on the Internet on-demand and in-order. That makes it a crucial part of the Internet.
George, I agree that the perceived internet would probably function less well without Akamai, but that’s why I ended with “…the Internet as defined by the use of open protocols over shared links.” Not accepting all traffic and not using TCP/IP makes Akamai an aftermarket bolt-on turbocharger. It’s not part of the Internet-with-a-capital-I and it needs to be identified as such.
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