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A Baker’s Dozen, 2015 Edition

As is our annual tradition, this blog provides a year-end review of how the Internet providers at the top of our Internet Intelligence – Transit global rankings fared over the previous year.  The structure and performance of the Internet remains a huge blind spot for most enterprises, even those critically dependent on it for business operations.  Whether it’s the next 3 billion people coming online, poor performance due to suboptimal routing, impaired connectivity due to natural disasters or sabotage, slow DNS performance, routing leaks, or security breaches of a trust-based Internet infrastructure, Dyn provides critical insight into the structure and performance of the Internet, both real-time and historical, via its Internet Intelligence product suite.  More importantly, our services help our customers make the changes necessary to optimize Internet availability, reliability, and reach in a very dynamic environment.

Back in 2008, we chose to look at the 13 providers that spent at least some time in the Top Ten that year, hence the name “Baker’s Dozen“.  We repeated that exercise in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.  During the past 8 years, I’ve written each of these blogs and fully expected to have written my last entry on this topic, largely because these rankings cover such a very small slice of our data and we have many more interesting things to talk about relative to both Internet performance and security.  So I thought I’d let this topic quietly fade away, but the requests for a 2015 edition have become too voluminous to ignore, although I make no promises about 2016!  As in the past, I’ll focus on global IPv4 rankings, given the lack of IPv6 adoption at the Internet’s edge, where most IP space is allocated.  Anyone wishing to explore our IPv6 rankings or further investigate our IPv4 rankings should subscribe to our Internet Intelligence – Transit product.  This application provides full details of every AS on the global Internet, overall and by market, along with news events of interest concerning changes in transit and customer wins and losses.

Without further ado, then, let’s highlight a few of the trends and changes we observed in 2015 relative to the top global Internet providers.

And the Winners are …


The above graph shows our global scores for the Baker’s Dozen over the past year.  As always, the absolute scores (computed from the quantity of transited IP space) are not meaningful in this context, so we omit the scale.  At this high level, we see more or less steady growth for all of the players and some seemingly minor jockeying for position throughout 2015.  However, our final annual rankings are anything but predictable, as 2015 saw some significant changes.

The biggest story of 2015 was the meteoric ascent of TeliaSonera (#2) as it challenged Level 3 for the #1 global ranking, a position Level 3 has held without interruption since the end of 2008.  TeliaSonera actually surpassed Level 3 briefly in 2016 and is a fraction of a percent below them as of this writing, an achievement we never could have imagined.  2015 also saw very solid gains from NTT (#3), PCCW (#10) and Hurricane Electric (#12), while Verizon (#7) and Sprint (#9) continued their multi-year decline.  As we’ll see below, in just 8 years, 5 of the original 13 Baker’s Dozen have either ceased to exist as independent entities or have lost enough market share to eliminate them from this list of top-tier players.

To make more sense of the tangled graphic above and this year’s changes, we’ll divide up the players into three tiers and zoom in on each in turn.

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Whois: Earl Zmijewski

Earl Zmijewski is a Senior Director, Data Analytics at Oracle Dyn Global Business Unit, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.