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cache.akamai.com

mikeb
Grafter
Posts: 367
Registered: 10-06-2007

cache.akamai.com

It would very much appear to me that for anything BBC and perhaps more specifically anything that is iplayer related, all roads lead to cache.akamai.com (various 212.56.73.xxx IPs) and have done for some considerable time now. No doubt various other Akamai-related content there as well. It would also appear to me that cache.akamai.com is (at the very least sort of) under PN control and/or lurking somewhere in PN Towers.
A couple of what I think are relevant IPs for example:
ichef.bbci.co.uk => cache.akamai.com [212.56.73.107] or [212.56.73.136]
electradl.iplayer.bbc.co.uk.edgesuite.net => cache.akamai.com [212.56.73.17] or [212.56.73.27] etc
Akamai in general and especially anything via cache.akamai.com has always been somewhat slow or often a tad problematic but significant problems arose yesterday when downloading/playing iplayer programmes. Many programmes (if not all very recent programmes) halted after downloading exactly 12MB whilst much older programmes generally downloaded completely. An error message was produced: "we cannot download ..." and the logfile claims there was "an error downloading licence"  In addition to this, many fully downloaded programmes also refused to play, presumably because licence data could not be confirmed.  Contrary to all published info, it is definitely NOT always possible to play downloaded programmes unless you have a fully working internet connection at the time so that the licence data can be checked.
The problem was definitely NOT related to downloading the programme data itself.  All programme data was freely available and could be downloaded manually without any issues whatsoever. It was neither use nor ornament having downloaded it mind you without having the relevant licence data or fully working access to the relevant server of course. It wasn't a gateway issue either. It was apparently a lack of licence data or an inability to confirm existing licence data that was halting programme downloads and also preventing fully downloaded programmes from being played.
This problem existed all yesterday afternoon/evening but apparently went away at stupid o'clock this morning, somewhere around 0130 or thereabouts. Everything then worked fine until around 0730 or thereabouts when the problem returned once more. It started working correctly again around 1030 or thereabouts.
This problem has also occurred very intermittently at various times in the recent past although BBC are apparently aware of the current issue according to this page. However, it all seems to be down to an intermittent inability to obtain/confirm relevant licence data from a server that may or may not be cache.akamai.com and which may or may not be something that PN has at least one finger in so might possibly be able to wander over to give it poke with a pointy stick and/or encourage a more appropriate level of performance by way of a well aimed kick !
So ...
Who or what is cache.akamai.com and why do all roads apparently lead to it these days ?
Is it actually an Akamai thing or a PN thing ?
Is it perhaps just a PN located proxy server that isn't always getting all relevant data from other Akamai et al server(s) elsewhere ?
Who needs to be fixing this particular Akamai-related issue once and for all this time Tongue

[/nobody_expects_the_Spanish_Inquisition]

EDIT: I find it kinda hard to believe no one else has noticed problems and posted something already. It was more than a bit of a show stopper and it can't just have been only me swearing profusely at stupid iplayer issues again along with similarly stupid and unhelpful error messages ! Having just checked the BBC link above actually worked, it also appears that BBC have now updated the page with 'fixed' in the time it's taken me to type all this. But was it really a BBC problem so to speak ? It looked rather more like a server/proxy/routing issue from here after a quicky looky see at what seemed to (not) be going on at the time.
1 REPLY
IanSn
Grafter
Posts: 492
Thanks: 5
Registered: 25-09-2011

Re: cache.akamai.com

Yes, me noticed, too. Quite some time now. Often puzzled by this IP but only note it and let it go.
Sometimes iPlayer just will not work when trying to play programmes. Then, tomorrow, it will be fine again. But don't know if its related.
Yes, early evening iPlayer is forget-it time. Wait till later and its ok. Been like that for ages. Have posted a couple of times on here about it in the past. All i got was that 212.56.71.### is a google cache, apparently. But 73 is still a ubiquitous mystery to me.
However, it ain't just BBC. It crops up every time I open Firefox since last update, streams of it going on for minutes (always have blank new page with prev cache deleted, etc.), and all sorts of odd occasions, like clicking 'receive' to pick up email from my own domain via Thunderbird.
Another one is hitting the 'AirPort Base Station' on the Mac randomly while computer is idle. (I don't use AirPort on the Mac, its off.) This one I now prevent with a firewall rule.
No idea.