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Akamai servers improve Internet performance on campus

Friday, July 3, 2015

New servers on the University of Georgia’s network are helping to improve Internet performance for students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus.

Akamai, a cloud services provider, provided the servers to the University’s central IT department, Enterprise Information Technology Services (EITS), as part of the Akamai Accelerated Network Partner Program (AANP). The caching servers, installed in the University’s Boyd Data Center, save frequently visited content from the Internet locally, so users of the network can access it more quickly. The servers are also only used by the UGA network, so users accessing content stored on the Akamai caching servers don’t have to compete with general Internet traffic.

“Akamai servers on campus benefit wired and wireless clients equally,” said Christian Cummings, associate director of network engineering.

Cummings said users on the University’s network may be able to access content stored on the Akamai servers at a significantly increased rate — up to 70 times faster.

Some Akamai web content is still accessed over the Internet, so not all content is downloaded locally, Cummings said, but the amount should be less than before the servers were installed, decreasing the demand for bandwidth for some content served out of frequently accessed sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Hulu and CNN. The University’s network used an average of 6 gigabytes of bandwidth during the spring semester — peaking at 7.2 gigabytes — and the demand continues to increase. Less than two years ago, the University’s network would see peaks around 2-3 gigabytes.

Cummings said it is rare for a university network to have Akamai servers on campus. Akamai's content delivery network is one of the world's largest distributed computing platforms, responsible for serving between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic.