The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Akamai solves the problem of online traffic congestion through servers and software that speed up video and audio streaming on major Web sites.   Started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technol

ogy in 1998, the primary objective of the company was to solve the future problem of congestion on the Internet. A decade later, their vision is helping sites control the videos and data that are notorious for slowing down the Internet.   As more people use the Internet for business or pleasure, traffic is increasing. Web sites that use videos, photos or other and other such applications slow down the Internet, and Akamai solves that problem while making a profit.   Their network of 30,000 servers and custom traffic-routing algorithms speed up the content delivery Web sites, a growing market of which 60-70% are Akamai clients.   Facebook, Myspace and iTunes all use Akamai’s software and servers because of their use of videos, photos and audio streaming and the massive amounts of traffic the Web sites generate.   Akamai’s systems enable such Web sites to operate faster and, consequently, put out more content. This, in turn, translates into more ways to grab advertising dollars for the Web sites, which makes Akamai’s services so valuable.   In 2007, Akamai had $636 million in sales, making a little over a $100 million profit. According to Fortune Magazine, the fast-growing company is expected to break $1 billion in revenue in 2009.   Much of this projected growth is tied to innovations in the Internet and media, as high-definition video is quickly making its way online and software-as-a-service applications are growing.   The companies that operate such systems are outside of Akamai’s traditional client base, but it is a vision of the future that created the company and one that will probably keep it growing.   By Danny Scuderi   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at