Apple TV, iTunes downloads slowed by Google DNS

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Users experiencing slow movie rental downloads via Apple TV or iTunes should make sure they're not using a centralized domain name service such as Google DNS, which can dramatically slow down media access to Content Delivery Networks.



A variety of Apple TV users have reported extremely long download times when trying to rent movies. The problem does not appear to be with Apple's servers, the Akamai Content Delivery Network Apple uses to deliver media downloads efficiently, nor the design of iTunes or Apple TV hardware. Instead, it's often cause by a centralized Domain Name Service, such as Google DNS or OpenDNS, according to a variety of reports.



Last December, Google launched Google DNS as a free service intended to give users an alternative to their Internet Service Provider's own DNS servers. At the time, the company touted faster performance and security in using its own DNS, which enables client computers to look up IP addresses of Internet servers from their easier to remember domain name.



While Google DNS (and similar services, such as UltraDNS and OpenDNS) may enable users to bypass domain blocking rules and redirects configured by their ISP or their company's IT department, and can also speed network performance in some cases by resolving IP addresses faster, the centralized DNS services can also defeat the distributed nature of DNS itself.



Network users are supposed to look up IP addresses from a nearby server, which itself queries and caches answers to name and address lookups from other DNS systems, distributing the workload across the network. CDNs like Akamai, which Apple works with to deliver iTunes downloads, use DNS lookup information to locate where users are, and then optimize content delivery via the nearest available server.



When millions of users all tap into the same DNS server addresses to resolve domain names, as Google DNS does by design, Akamai and other CDNs route content to those users along the same path, preventing the network from working optimally. This causes problems not only for Apple's iTunes, but also any other media streaming or download service that uses a similar CDN strategy to distribute downloads.



May cost foreign users extra



In addition, according to a report by APC, some foreign providers that have dedicated media links to enable efficient, cost effective delivery are bypassed when users configure their systems to use a service like Google DNS, bypassing the user's quota for free downloads.



This can result in extra costs for the user, as their otherwise-free media downloads are billed directly because they don't take advantage of local delivery links and instead pull data directly from American servers.



Reverting to local DNS services



Google provides instructions on how to configure its own Google DNS services, which can be used to revert back to the original DNS settings. In many cases, users obtain automatic DNS server assignments from their ISP in the same DHCP process that provides them with their IP addresses.



Users with wireless base stations or any devices with statically configured network settings (such as an Apple TV) may need to verify that their network devices are all using the local DNS addresses from their ISP, rather than Google DNS, if slow media downloads are a problem.



Update



Laura Oppenheimer of OpenDNS wrote AppleInsider to provide additional information on how third-party DNS services might affect devices like Apple TV.



"OpenDNS has arrangements with a number of CDNs that make this a non-issue for the vast majority of OpenDNS + Apple TV users," Oppenheimer wrote. "That said, with Akamai, especially internationally, it's still suboptimal. It's entirely workable, but not as optimal as it could be.



"In general, North America isn't really an issue since we have a sufficiently dense network topology. That said, we're very open to working to improve end-user CDN routing with Akamai, just as we have with other large CDNs."
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Comments

  • john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,617member
    4.2.2.2

    4.2.2.1
  • john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,617member
    "Do no evil", my arse!
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Last December, Google launched Google DNS as a free service intended to give Google the means to track every single server you access on the internet, even when other tracking methods fail to be effective...



    There, I fixed it for you.
  • akf2000akf2000 Posts: 223member
    wow, definitely experienced this problem with slowwww rentals and Google DNS. I've switched to my ISP DNS now, thanks for the article.
  • revilrerevilre Posts: 67member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    4.2.2.2

    4.2.2.1



    Use these and then it will assume you're in Broomfield Colorado connected directly to Level3. Which would be fun if you were... be great for netflix viewers i suppose.
  • ddawson100ddawson100 Posts: 376member
    No, that's not how DNS works. Your machine does an initial lookup for the address record and then your machine caches it for some period of time. Once your machine is downloading it has already connected and wouldn't need another lookup. JoeMaller doesn't post the source of his research and DED links to faulty research.



    I haven't had any problems with Google DNS. I'm rather fond of Open DNS myself.
  • yuusharoyuusharo Posts: 311member
    There is so much misinformation in this article it makes me angry. Link baiting is one thing, but this is flat out making stories up.



    A variety of reports? One guy... ONE GUY... mentions in a blog that he changed his DNS and magically his precious Apple TV was working again. I appreciate the explanation of how DNS can be used to locate you, which I never knew before, but this anecdotal evidence reported by a random blogger being treated as fact is upsetting to say the least. And of course, the fact that he coincidentally used Google's DNS is the only reason this story even exists. Had he been using OpenDNS or Level 3 DNS, there wouldn't be any drama cooked up in the non-existent Google vs Apple wars...



    Please, this is tripe and nothing more. The bias never ends. FYI, I personally feel its irresponsible to tell people to switch back to their local providers DNS, which may end up being *SLOWER* than OpenDNS or Google can provide, and may be more susceptible to DNS spoofing and phishing attacks due to ISPs not updating their servers regularly, which puts users at risk of attack.
  • clickmyfaceclickmyface Posts: 79member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post


    There is so much misinformation in this article it makes me angry. Link baiting is one thing, but this is flat out making stories up.



    A variety of reports? One guy... ONE GUY... mentions in a blog that he changed his DNS and magically his precious Apple TV was working again. I appreciate the explanation of how DNS can be used to locate you, which I never knew before, but this anecdotal evidence reported by a random blogger being treated as fact is upsetting to say the least. And of course, the fact that he coincidentally used Google's DNS is the only reason this story even exists. Had he been using OpenDNS or Level 3 DNS, there wouldn't be any drama cooked up in the non-existent Google vs Apple wars...



    Please, this is tripe and nothing more. The bias never ends. FYI, I personally feel its irresponsible to tell people to switch back to their local providers DNS, which may end up being *SLOWER* than OpenDNS or Google can provide, and may be more susceptible to DNS spoofing and phishing attacks due to ISPs not updating their servers regularly, which puts users at risk of attack.



    Um, the blog links to a half dozen threads in Apple Support forums where a whole bunch of people are reporting the same problem/solution.



    I have Comcast, they update their servers regularly in my area, and I rarely have DNS issues.
  • poochpooch Posts: 768member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Network users are supposed to look up IP addresses from a nearby server, which itself queries and caches answers to name and address lookups from other DNS systems, distributing the workload across the network. CDNs like Akamai, which Apple works with to deliver iTunes downloads, use DNS lookup information to locate where users are, and then optimize content delivery via the nearest available server.



    akamai knows my ip address, but they sure as hell don't know from which dns server i got theirs.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post


    There is so much misinformation in this article it makes me angry. Link baiting is one thing, but this is flat out making stories up.



    hear, hear!
  • tulkastulkas Posts: 3,689member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post


    No, that's not how DNS works. Your machine does an initial lookup for the address record and then your machine caches it for some period of time. Once your machine is downloading it has already connected and wouldn't need another lookup. JoeMaller doesn't post the source of his research and DED links to faulty research.



    I haven't had any problems with Google DNS. I'm rather fond of Open DNS myself.



    Bingo. I was of puzzled why the headline specifically singles out google and only google when at best it generally affects users of external DNS servers. At best. Was it just a chance to put google in the headline to grab some eyeballs? Sort of like taking a story about some laptop batteries, like apple might use, exploding and putting out a headline "Apple laptops exploding!" WTF?
  • freckledbruhfreckledbruh Posts: 520member
    I won't go as far to say that this is rubbish, but I have never had an issue with Google's DNS and my AppleTV (original recipe). In fact, everything downloads and streams (YouTube, etc.) much better than my crappy ISP.
  • john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,617member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Last December, Google launched Google DNS as a free service intended to give Google the means to track every single server you access on the internet, even when other tracking methods fail to be effective...



    There, I fixed it for you.



    That would be funny if it wasn't so true...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by revilre View Post


    Use these and then it will assume you're in Broomfield Colorado connected directly to Level3. Which would be fun if you were... be great for netflix viewers i suppose.



    Many medium and large ISPs leverage those same DNS services of L3. That's how DNS works. Besides, it happens to be load balanced to the hilt.



    The advantage of using it is that it's not borked up with a bunch of domain search redirects, which is what my ISP is doing with their end-user DNS services (and probably yours as well).
  • mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,447member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post


    There is so much misinformation in this article it makes me angry. Link baiting is one thing, but this is flat out making stories up.



    A variety of reports? One guy... ONE GUY... mentions in a blog that he changed his DNS and magically his precious Apple TV was working again. I appreciate the explanation of how DNS can be used to locate you, which I never knew before, but this anecdotal evidence reported by a random blogger being treated as fact is upsetting to say the least. And of course, the fact that he coincidentally used Google's DNS is the only reason this story even exists. Had he been using OpenDNS or Level 3 DNS, there wouldn't be any drama cooked up in the non-existent Google vs Apple wars...



    Please, this is tripe and nothing more. The bias never ends. FYI, I personally feel its irresponsible to tell people to switch back to their local providers DNS, which may end up being *SLOWER* than OpenDNS or Google can provide, and may be more susceptible to DNS spoofing and phishing attacks due to ISPs not updating their servers regularly, which puts users at risk of attack.



    Google Clubs Baby Seals... Story at 11



    The level that AI sinks to sometimes to criticize Google at every turn is a bit sickening at times.
  • boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 932member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    Bingo. I was of puzzled why the headline specifically singles out google and only google when at best it generally affects users of external DNS servers. At best. Was it just a chance to put google in the headline to grab some eyeballs? Sort of like taking a story about some laptop batteries, like apple might use, exploding and putting out a headline "Apple laptops exploding!" WTF?



    Your kidding right, why does basically an Apple fan site specifical mention a problem with Google?





    Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
  • _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 129member
    As many have already said, this article is misinformed on many levels, and shows that the author doesn't really understand DNS at all.



    1. DNS is simply a directory for matching human-readable names (i.e. apple.com, cnn.com, yahoo.com) with an IP address that computers understand. It doesn't have ANYTHING with setting routes (or "paths", as the author states) to/from your computer and the site!



    2. the point of third-party DNS services, like Google or OpenDNS, is to speed up your surfing-- these servers are typically dramatically faster-responding than your usual ISP. Switch, and you'll see the difference.



    3. Once your computer has connected to a site to download, stream, etc., DNS has no role in that process. A DNS server WILL NOT affect your download speed!



    4. it is trivial for a company to block users from setting their own DNS-- simply block port 53 on the firewall (except for your main DNS server, of course). Any user setting their own DNS to anything other than the corporate DNS will be surprised to find they can no longer surf the web.
  • john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,617member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    Google Clubs Baby Seals... Story at 11



    The level that AI sinks to sometimes to criticize Google at every turn is a bit sickening at times.



    And yet, you're still here...
  • boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 932member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    Google Clubs Baby Seals... Story at 11



    ......









    sorry saw this and had this image - visually imagine Eric Schmidt with ol' Sarah P with clubs in their hands saying. 'Y'know, some times we have to do un-pleasant things for the better good... CRaccckkk'.



    Sorry everyone, just being stupid and silly.
  • tulkastulkas Posts: 3,689member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post


    Your kidding right, why does basically an Apple fan site specifical mention a problem with Google?





    Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!



    Ugh, yeah. Unless AI has become as ignorant as others that must see google as bad because the compete with Apple. I hoped that level of stupidity left with the desktop wars. Guess some people wallow in the negativity of it. Enjoy.



    Being Apple fan doesn't mean hating everyone else. Almost seems like Gruber is ghost writing for AI today (kidding, they aren't that bad yet).
  • daveswdavesw Posts: 406member
    Those Google F$%^%ers !!!!
  • daylove22daylove22 Posts: 215member
    Who in his/her right mind sign up with Google DNS?? I mean this company stores all your searches, pry in your emails, and if you sign up would know all your info..
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