What does the internet look like? A free new web service from Akamai Technologies Inc. offers a peek, providing a sort of internet weather report on global traffic tie-ups, cyber attacks and spikes in activity.

Akamai, which says it delivers 15 to 20 per cent of internet traffic on any given day, hopes its new website helps not only the techies it counts as clients, but also the general public.

If your internet connection is slower than usual, Akamai's tool can show whether traffic is clogged overall in your city. (If not, your internet service provider might be to blame.) Or you might just want a way to visualize the global ebb and flow of the internet.

Other sites offering similar services include the internet traffic report and the internet health report, but Akamai's format appears geared toward a mainstream audience.

"We originally built this feature as a tool for our customers, but once it was built it seemed like a fun thing to put out there to the public," said Tom Leighton, Akamai's chief scientist.

The service reveals some of the data that engineers at Akamai's Cambridge headquarters rely on to monitor and troubleshoot global server networks and ensure information flows over the most efficient paths.

The service features a real-time monitor measuring internet traffic globally and by region. The tool shows the 10 cities with the slowest web connections at a given moment, and ranks the regions facing the most network attacks.

Other sections measure traffic on digital music, retail and news websites.