The TCP standard at the heart of the Internet dates from 1974. A proposed replacement could make our connections much faster.
By Tom Simonite
Why: The exponential growth in traffic on the Web is possible because of services that route data intelligently.
Key innovation: Its algorithms optimize online routes for content delivery.
The Web couldn’t keep up with the exponential increase in traffic if not for services from providers like Akamai that route data as intelligently as possible from the provider's servers to the end user's computer. Akamai's algorithms have allowed it to become the world's premier provider of services that help websites deliver content faster and more efficiently.
Akamai says it delivers between 15 and 30 percent of all Web traffic. Its customers include media companies, social networks, software makers, and the U.S. military. It stands to benefit from the increasing amount of rich, interactive content traveling over the Internet: the more complex a site is, the more it needs the company’s services.
Though the company is best known for content delivery, Akamai is expanding to appeal to businesses that want to deliver Web applications. The company bills its platform as a way for companies to avoid problems and vulnerabilities as more and more Web applications move into the cloud. Its Web application firewall, for example, can stop malicious attacks before they reach the customer's infrastructure.
Challenges and Next Steps:
Last year, video surpassed file sharing as the online activity that accounted for the highest percentage of Internet traffic, and its share is only set to increase as more and more of it is transmitted in high-definition. Last year, Akamai introduced a new network for helping deliver this high-bandwidth content.