Akamai’s CDN Has No Performance Advantage For Video, And Here’s The Data To Prove It

When it comes to CDNs talking about the performance of their network, Akamai (AKAM) wins the award for using the most vague, generic and high-level terms, providing little to no definition of what they actually mean. On Akamai’s Q1 earnings call, the company used the term “quality” eleven times to describe their ability to deliver video and said they “differentiate” themselves based on their “level of performance”. The problem is, when you look at real measurement numbers, not marketing terms, Akamai doesn’t perform better than the other CDNs and many times, performs much worse.

On the day of their earnings call, Akamai was ranked 9th in performance, based on throughput, in the U.S., as measured by third-party company Cedexis. Akamai was beaten out by Level 3, EdgeCast (Verizon), Highwinds and others.

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Drilling down into specific regions, in Russia, Akamai’s ranked 4th in latency measurements from key locations around the world, beaten out by other providers. In China, Akamai didn’t even make it into the top 7 at all. This performance data is based on science and not marketing hype or anything else. Just actual performance measurements.

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Last year, Akamai was one of half a dozen CDNs Yahoo used for the NFL webcast, and Akamai was the only CDN had performance issues. And yet, Akamai continues to feed the market this garbage about “advanced video delivery capabilities”, “unparalleled quality and scale” and a “high-quality video experience”. And don’t get me started on this nonsense about “edge” delivery. All the major CDN are at the edge too! Akamai is not doing anything different at the “edge”. They say their servers are “located close to end users”. So are their competitors. In fact, Comcast’s CDN servers are even closer than Akamai’s inside Comcast’s network, since Comcast owns the last mile. From a performance standpoint, based on real metrics, no one has better performance than Comcast, on their own network.

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