OpenDNS and Google DNS might be slowing down your Apple TV

| Monday, December 20th, 2010

If everyone’s trying to connect to the same servers at the same time, a bottleneck will occur, and Joe Maller thinks that using OpenDNS or Google DNS might be creating a bottleneck for your Apple TV.

The argument seems logical and simple enough that most would overlook DNS as the root cause of the slow streaming times associated with the iTunes store. Currently Apple is using Akamai, a third party service, to deliver their content around the world. Akamai’s job in this environment is to make sure that all iTunes users are connecting to servers that are closest geographically to the device. Essentially, it’s more efficient to connect to a server a couple of cities over to get your content than it would be to connect to a city on the other side of the world.

The technology isn’t relatively new, nor is it something that most have to worry about. The connections happen normally, and DNS takes care of the rest. For the “normal” internet user, this isn’t a problem. They’ll connect to their ISP’s DNS servers and be forwarded to the closest Akamai server. But what about the rest of us, the geeky ones who are using Google DNS or OpenDNS as their primary DNS services?

It turns out that being geeky might come with its own set of problems when it comes to Akamai and the Apple TV. Instead of routing us to the closest server, OpenDNS and Google DNS might be routing all of us to the same server. If this is the case, it could explain the packet delays. Joe Maller makes an excellent point in his article: “The iTunes Store has thousands of entrances. Everyone using Google DNS is trying to get in through the same door.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? If everyone’s trying to get through the same door at once, the queue for Apple’s services must look like a subway station in Japan.

There’s no hard evidence to suggest that Maller is correct, but if the simplest answer is often the right answer, he might just be on to something here.

Personally, my iTunes rentals do seem to take way longer than they should, and I’ve been using OpenDNS for a while now. After doing some research it also appears that Netflix might also rely on Akamai for a large portion of their videos. So, if you’ve noticed poor service from either of those two content providers, you might want to consider resetting your DNS. It might speed up the whole network.

Article Via Joe Maller

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