As Effects of Taiwan Earthquake Continue to Disrupt Internet Communications, Companies Find Business Continuity With Akamai

Cambridge, MA |

It has been over one month since an earthquake off Taiwan dramatically impacted Internet connectivity by severing undersea telecommunications cables, but businesses leveraging Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) for Web content and applications delivery into Asia continue to experience strong online performance and uptime of operations. For additional information on Akamai’s services for ensuring availability of a business’ online operations, please go to

"The impact of the recent earthquake near Taiwan is a prime example of the often over-looked vulnerabilities with today's Internet infrastructure," said Tom Leighton, chief scientist at Akamai. "Akamai's global platform intelligently routes around bottlenecks on the Internet, finding the optimal path for content to always reach end users. As a result, we are enabling businesses to ensure availability in the wake of widespread events such as this recent earthquake, and during smaller-scale, but far more pervasive events that happen on a daily basis."

For example, during the initial week following the earthquake, tests* show that Web transactions handled by online businesses not leveraging Akamai were either unavailable, or took as long as 1-2 minutes to complete. Conversely, Web transactions delivered by Akamai peaked to an average of 4-5 seconds to complete immediately following the earthquake, before returning to pre-quake levels of an average of 2 seconds.

"The Manpower brand is intrinsically tied to the customer experience, which requires top performance and continual uptime for all of our clients as they leverage our employment services," said Joe Luedtke, Director Global Technology Services at Manpower. "In the days and weeks following the earthquake near Taiwan, Akamai was critical in enabling Manpower's online services to remain high performing for our users within Asia. Our Akamai-enabled systems experienced no disruption in service or performance."

n China specifically, where business' online operations have been hardest hit by the effects of the earthquake, Akamai customers have experienced near 100 percent availability for Web transactions delivered via the Akamai platform versus an average of 40 percent availability for transactions delivered from a company's origin infrastructure.*

Akamai operates in close partnership with nationally-licensed service providers in China to comply with local requirements. These partnerships allow customers of Akamai continue to receive consistent high performance from locations within and around China.

Akamai's Web Application Accelerator and Dynamic Site Accelerator services are designed to leverage Akamai's globally-deployed platform to deliver consistent, improved application performance for users worldwide. Akamai accelerates customers' dynamic Web transactions using a number of techniques, many of which are unique to Akamai. For example:

  • Dynamic mapping of user requests to an optimal Akamai edge server allows Akamai to respond in real time to changing Internet conditions, alleviating the impact of network problems and improving availability of customer applications. 
  • Route optimization technology enables Akamai to avoid Internet problem spots, sending application transactions over Internet paths that are fast and reliable. 
  • Connection optimization technology incorporates a number of capabilities, including compression, long-lived inter-server connections, content pre-fetching, and transport protocol optimization.

"As enterprises move business processes online for cost and time efficiencies, the risks of downtime caused by planned and unplanned maintenance, physical disasters, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, viruses, and unpredictable flash crowds are many," continued Leighton. "The availability of an enterprise's Web operations is vital to building and maintaining its brand equity and customer loyalty, ensuring communications with customers and partners, and ultimately generating revenue. The inherent nature of Akamai's massively distributed global network provides a shock absorbing effect to protect a company's centralized infrastructure and preserve high availability."

In addition to the following information, Akamai will be making available raw measurement data (in an anonymous format) from relevant areas of its deployed network for the timeframe during and following the earthquake. This data will be available for research purposes on Akamai's public website at

Web Transaction Data (Dec. 22nd – Jan. 5th)

Web Transaction Data(Dec 22- Jan 5)

The above graph shows the average time taken to run a simple Web transaction. This is equivalent to a user viewing a Web page. The tests were run from three locations in China: Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. The test Web server was located in Pennsylvania, U.S. Users viewing the page without Akamai would have seen total failures or would have waited for close to two minutes. A week later, users still have an average 30-second delay. When delivered by Akamai, users would have noticed very little issue accessing content.

Packet Loss (Dec. 22nd – Jan. 5th)

Packet Loss(Dec 22- Jan 5)

The times when the earthquake was measured does not correspond to the spikes that Akamai saw on the transaction or loss graphs. Instead, over a period of 12 - 14 hours after the earthquake, several undersea cables went down. The earthquake happened at 12:25 GMT on Dec 26th.


  1. The standard VoIP encoding "requires packet loss far less than 1 percent to avoid audible errors. Ideally, there should be no packet loss for VoIP. "Source: Quality of Service for Voice over IP, Cisco, paper09186a00800d6b73.shtml
  2. At 3 percent packet loss, downloading a Web page may appear to be 30 - 100 percent slower for some users. Source: Client Perceived Response Time and Its Relationship to Different Link and Page Characteristics, IBM Corporation, 
  3. Above 10-12 percent packet loss, connections start to get broken, and video conferencing is unusable. Source: Tutorial on Internet Monitoring & PingER at SLAC

About Akamai

Akamai® is the leading global service provider for accelerating content and business processes online. Thousands of organizations have formed trusted relationships with Akamai, improving their revenue and reducing costs by maximizing the performance of their online businesses. Leveraging the Akamai EdgePlatform, these organizations gain business advantage today, and have the foundation for the emerging Web solutions of tomorrow. Akamai is "The Trusted Choice for Online Business." For more information, visit