Our Baker’s Dozen blog focuses on the top global Internet providers as measured by quantity of transited IP space. If your market is not truly global, it pays to consider your provider options by region, country or even city. Our Internet Intelligence product suite is designed around helping our customers understand the structure, performance and reliability of the Internet regardless of their geographic scope or potential providers. In other words, there is a lot more to consider than just a top global list by a single metric. To explore this topic further, we’ll look one geographic level deeper into the Internet Intelligence – Transit rankings for the top-5 providers by continent. As we’ll see below, these can vary considerably from our top global list and even include other players with a more regional focus. Let’s take a quick look.
At the end of 2015, Cogent (AS174) was ranked as the #4 global provider by our metric, but it closed the year as #1 in Africa, opening up a wide margin over Level 3 (AS3356), its nearest competitor on the continent. Cogent started transiting a sizeable number of new prefixes from South Africa’s MTN (AS16637) and Tunisian incumbent Ooreddo (AS37693) to mention two of Cogent’s 80 AS customers in Africa. As in our global rankings, Telia (AS1299) surged in Africa as well, ending up as #3 there and within striking range of #2 Level 3. Telia also picked up transited prefixes from Tunisia’s Ooreddo, as well as increases from Angola Cables (AS37468) and Sudan’s Canar Telecommunications (AS33788). NTT (AS2914), a solid #3 globally, is treading water in Africa and on verge of being passed by #4 Tata (AS6453).
In Asia, our top provider is NTT (AS2914), followed by China Telecom (AS4134), Level 3 and TeliaSonera, in that order. PCCW (AS3491), who did not make are global list, ranks #5 in this fast growing continent. NTT picked up Asian transit from Japan’s Softbank (AS17676), China Mobile (AS58453), Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (AS17557), and many others. China Telecom’s erratic behavior is explained in our Baker’s Dozen blog. PCCW picked up transited prefixes from Taiwan’s Digital United (AS4780), China Mobile (AS58453), Malaysia’s TM Net (AS4788) and many others in the region.
By our metric, Level 3 has stagnated in Europe, while TeliaSonera closed the year within striking ranging of the continent’s top spot, exactly the same position they found themselves in globally. However, as 2016 began, TeliaSonera’s worldwide surge continued; they passed Level 3 and currently maintain a clear advantage. TeliaSonera picked up transit from European providers Liberty Global Operations (AS6830) and Datagroup PJSC (AS21219) to name a couple of significant wins, gains that came at the expense of Level 3 (see the graphics below). The rest of the top 5 in this group are a long way off from our two leaders and, thanks to Rostelecom’s (AS12389) increased use of Cogent, this subgroup ended the year largely indistinguishable from one another in Europe.
To probably no one’s surprise, Level 3 is the clear leader by a very wide margin in North America, their home base, over every other potential provider. While Level 3 lost a bit of ground, losing for example Canada’s Rogers Cable Communications (AS812) as a customer, TeliaSonera picked up a major win in the Great White North with increased transit from Bell Canada (AS577). Although absent from our global list, CenturyLink (AS209) comes in at #5 in North America, ending the year just behind NTT. While CenturyLink gained in our rankings during the time period, some of those increases were due to their announcements of prefixes registered to Qwest, an entity they acquired in 2011.
Our top 5 in South America look quite a bit different from the other continents we’ve examined with Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider Telefonica (AS12956) taking the top spot at the end of 2015. Telefonica, ranking #19 globally, provides service throughout South and Central America, as well as in Spain and a number of other locations. Telefonica’s increase in ranking was helped in part by an increase in transited prefixes from Internexa Brasil (AS262589).
Telecom Italia Sparkle (AS6762) had a very erratic year in South America, which can be largely explained by large moves of transited prefixes from their Brazilian subsidiary Tim Celular (AS26615). Some of Sprint’s (AS1239) year-end decline could be attributed to the loss of Brazilian customer Algar Telecom (AS16735). Tata’s (AS6453) fourth quarter rise is due in part to increased transit from Brazil’s Oi (AS7738, formerly Telemar).
Despite only looking at the top 5 providers in 5 continents, we still managed to see 10 of our 13 Baker’s Dozen global providers, missing only Hurricane Electric, Verizon, and XO. That is, even global providers tend to be stronger in certain parts of the world than others. So even if your audience is truly worldwide, you probably need several global providers to serve them well.
In a technology-driven world with too many complex choices, people naturally seek simple solutions in an attempt to “bring order to chaos, relieve stress and focus the mind.” Sure, you might feel good buying the #1 ranked transit provider, CDN, widget, etc., based on some list you found on the Internet (like this one!), but you might not only pay dearly for the privilege, you might actually be making a very poor decision based on your unique set of circumstances and the markets you are trying to serve. Even if your market is limited to a single country, the physical location and service providers of your users will matter greatly to their ability to reach you.
This is where Dyn comes in. By understanding the performance, reliability, and structure of the Internet second-by-second, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in any and all geographic markets, our Internet Intelligence suite of products help connect your content to your users faster, safer and more reliably than any other option, especially ones gleaned from annual rankings. Contact us and let us show you how we help our many customers optimize their Internet presence.
About the Author
Earl leads a peerless team of data scientists who are committed to analyzing Dyn’s vast Internet Performance data resources and applying their expertise to continually improve upon Dyn’s products and services.More Content by Earl Zmijewski