Dyn Launches Internet Intelligence Tool With Unique Perspective On iOS 8 Internet Impact

Earlier this week, Dyn launched a new Internet Intelligence platform that allows customers to look at the routing that makes content delivery possible and see the performance between transit providers that impacts customer experience. Using the tool to look at Apple iOS 8 release gives a global view of the event and what is happening at any moment. Performance of Apple’s own CDN, third-party CDNs and operator networks matter, but the interconnection of the CDNs to those eyeball networks is not often examined as a link in the performance chain. Understanding where the iOS 8 download is being served from is the first step and using the specific download URLs, a map can be built that shows the location of each CDN POP and who is serving the traffic from each. As I reported earlier, Apple is delivering the majority of the traffic themselves, with Akamai,  Limelight Networks and Level 3 all sharing in the portion of traffic Apple has outsourced.

This view is a map of where the different CDNs during the release were and what they were serving, specifically for the iOS 8 download. Dyn can produce this view in real time for the actual URLs for all of the files.


If you want to look at specific parts of the world to see exactly how the CDNs are connected, you can examine each of the nodes and how they route traffic through the Internet. This view of Frankfurt, Germany gave a very interesting view, showing when Apple connected to their own CDN versus when they were connected to those of Limelight or Akamai.


Performance upstream of the CDN can cause problems across a customer base. The image below depicts a slow-down inside Amsterdam on Level 3 during the peak hours of the download. The examination can take place on a hop-by-hop basis so each provider in the delivery chain can be examined for performance changes.


CDNs Akamai, Limelight Networks and Level 3 Are In The Mix For iOS8 Downloads

While Apple is delivering the majority of iOS 8 downloads from their own CDN, third-party content delivery providers Akamai, Limelight Networks and Level 3 are getting some iOS 8 traffic. Based on traceroutes and other data from Cedexis, DeepField, DYN and internal data from ISPs, it’s clear Apple is using a multi-CDN strategy especially in specific regions outside North America, particularly with smaller ISPs. Last mile providers are seeing a huge demand for iOS 8, with traffic inside some IPS being  50% higher than normal. Combined, others saw traffic jump from 200Gbps, to a peak of 3Tbps. Apple’s new CDN has been impressive, both by the volume it has handled and also its performance.

Most of the larger ISPs in the U.S. have direct interconnects with Apple and are using Apple’s CDN. Apple put in place a lot of interconnects over the last year, including ones that are paid, and adopted a fairly broad direct peering strategy, especially in North America. For Tier-3 ISP’s, Apple looks to have split the traffic between Apple transit, Akamai and Limelight’s CDN. Akamai and Limelight appear to have gotten more CDN traffic than Level 3, but Level 3 should be the biggest winner in the iOS 8 download as Apple buys a huge amount of IP and other network related infrastructure from them.

It’s impossible to split out the percentage of traffic that is going to third-party CDNs, and Apple will change it based on availability, but looking on the data from multiple services, it’s clear Apple is delivering the majority of the iOS 8 traffic via their own CDN. Again, I can’t say an exact percentage, but it’s safe to say they are delivering the largest share. You can see when traffic started to hit some of the third-party CDNs, in certain regions like Finland, when the iOS 8 download was released. The first chart below from Cedexis shows the latency in Limelight’s network increasing, at the same times iOS 8 was made available for download. The key performance metric for downloads is availability, not latency but it’s a good indication showing which CDNs are being used in specific regions.

The second chart below from DYN, shows even more details on how the CDNs are connected, allowing you to examine each of the nodes and how they route traffic through the Internet. That chart is data from Frankfurt Germany giving a very interesting view, showing when Apple connected to their own CDN versus when they were connected to those of Limelight or Akamai.

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DeepField Data Shows Apple Traffic Jumping From 200Gbps to 3Tbps Thanks To iOS8 Downloads

Following up on the data I already published from Qwilt, DeepField has also shared some data with me showing just how much traffic spiked when Apple’s iOS 8 download was released. DeepField collects data from ISPs that participate in their Internet Observatory research project and the below chart shows Apple traffic from those ISPs, which normally sits around 200Gbps combined, peaking at 3Tbps at 6:15pm ET on Wednesday night. The data represents a cross section of consumer providers, mostly in North America, covering many tens of millions of users. Apple’s new CDN is impressive, it has massive capacity and service providers are seeing solid download rates across the board. Apple did rely on Akamai, Limelight and Level 3 for a small percentage of their overall downloads and I’ll have more details on that in a follow up post.

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For more on Apple’s CDN buildout, see these previous posts:

Feb 3rd: Apple Building Out Their Own CDN To Deliver Content To Consumers

May 20th: Apple Negotiating Paid Interconnect Deals With ISPs For Their Own CDN

July 31st: Apple’s CDN Now Live: Has Paid Deals With ISPs, Massive Capacity In Place

Apple iOS 8 Traffic Already 50% Higher Than Regular Traffic Inside ISP Networks

Apple’s iOS 8 update is just kicking into high gear now with the peak expected to hit later this evening as people arrive at home and start updating. Based on data from transparent caching provider Qwilt, traffic inside some last mile networks is already 50% higher than regular network traffic at 4pm PST. It’s also a much bigger update this time around with iOS 8 coming in at 1.3GB versus iOS 7 at 750MB. As of 6pm EST, Apple was accounting for 20.6% inside some networks in the U.S., which is half of Netflix’s 40% share. In France, where iOS 8 launched on the 15th, Apple accounted for the top percentage of traffic, at 24% beating out YouTube at 19.6%. And it’s clear that some ISPs are already capping users on their network.

Data shows that service providers that have deployed Qwilt are caching over 90% of iOS 8 traffic. Apple’s own CDN is doing the majority of the downloads in the U.S., possibly all of them, as I have yet to see a traceroute from the U.S. showing Akamai or any other third party CDN. Outside of the U.S., it does appear that Apple is using third party CDNs in select countries.




Apple’s iOS 8 Downloads Coming From Their Own CDN, Likely Will Be a Traffic Record

I’ve looked at a lot of traceroutes today for the download of Apple’s iOS 8 update and so far, all the records I have seen show they are coming from Apple’s own CDN, not third-party CDNs Akamai and Level 3. It’s still possible Akamai and Level 3 have some of the business, but so far, I only see it coming directly from Apple, which is what I expected. Also, even though it has only been two hours since the iOS 8 download went live, from preliminary data that some ISPs have shared with me, it also looks like iOS 8 will be a traffic record inside last mile providers. I’ll have an updated post when I have more chart and figures on size of the traffic inside ISPs as soon as I get it. I’m still looking to view more traceroute info, so if you have any you can send me, especially from outside the U.S., please email it to me.

Update 3:52pm: One user in Finland is reporting the download coming from Akamai. Would make sense that Apple would use CDNs outside the U.S., but to what extent is still unknown.

Update 7:11pm:  Three tracroutes from London all show Apple as the CDN. I haven’t yet seen a single traceroute in the U.S. showing anyone but Apple for delivery.

3 (  7.758 ms  7.496 ms  7.168 ms
4 (  9.369 ms  9.544 ms  9.378 ms
5 (  12.364 ms (  9.704 ms  9.504 ms
6 (  10.158 ms
host213-121-193-139.ukcore.bt.net (  11.071 ms (  10.443 ms
7  t2c3-xe-1-1-3-0.uk-lon1.eu.bt.net (  9.692 ms
t2c3-xe-0-2-2-0.uk-lon1.eu.bt.net (  10.888 ms
t2c3-xe-0-1-2-0.uk-lon1.eu.bt.net (  10.196 ms
8  166-49-211-254.eu.bt.net (  109.327 ms  109.568 ms  109.273 ms
9  ae14-xcr1.lnd.cw.net (  111.650 ms  108.923 ms  108.916 ms
10  ae1-xcr1.slo.cw.net (  119.320 ms  119.162 ms  119.422 ms
11  apple-gw.slo.cw.net (  120.190 ms  139.025 ms  119.704 ms
12  uklon5-vip-sx-002.aaplimg.com (  10.935 ms  11.559 ms  10.968 ms