Speaking to iTnews, Akamai's managing director for Australia and Asia, Stuart Spiteri, said the company's publicly-available real-time web monitor had shown "a massive spike in traffic" from early Wednesday.
"Essentially it was caused by people in Australia turning on their PCs and everyone all of a sudden going on the internet to find something," Spiteri said.
"It went up dramatically and sustained at between nine and 12 per cent above usual levels throughout the day.
"By 3pm [yesterday], it had come off that 12 per cent peak, but it's still been a very unusual occurrence to jump by that much in a day. It's a big jump."
Spiteri said the Akamai network had experienced a sustained 12 to 14 hours of traffic demand around two terabits per second "for software downloads".
By comparison, Spiteri said, streaming of Barack Obama's inauguration also handled live traffic demands of two terabits per second - but it was limited to the speech, which was over in 45 minutes.
"The difference in yesterday's case is that it was sustained usage," Spiteri said.
"Whatever happened yesterday on the internet was as big - or bigger - than the Obama inauguration."
Like Internode yesterday, Spiteri was unable to reveal the exact source of the traffic spike.
But the timing appears to coincide with the release by Microsoft of the Windows 7 release candidate to the public.
As reported by iTnews yesterday, Aussie ISPs including Adam Internet, Internode and iiNet reported Akamai server traffic spikes of between 10 and 50 per cent, which they attributed to availability of Windows 7.
Internode also blamed Windows 7 for evening congestion on its Tasmanian backhaul links. The ISP has since confirmed it has placed a purchase order with Telstra for additional bandwidth.
Akamai provides global mirroring for the Windows 7 RC download. Its platform includes 42,000 servers in 70 countries within nearly 950 networks.
It also claims to deliver between 10 and 20 per cent of Web traffic on any given day.
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