I have seen this question asked in different places, but have never seen a satisfactory answer:
On different computer builds, ASUS/GIGABYTE/MSI, I constantly have outgoing connections to XXX-XXX-XXX.deploy.static.akamaitechnologies.com over HTTP Port 80, and if the connection attempts are denied, the network card (or at least internet connectivity) stops working... LAN connections still appear to work. The outgoing connections occur on every restart, and must be allowed for the network card to function properly. If the attempts are denied, the system must be restated so that the connections will be attempted again and can be allowed.
This post suggests narrowing down an offending application, but I don't see how akamai technologies can be so intertwined in so many systems, cut-off connectivity if not allowed, etc. Something about it feels like unauthorized (or at least unwanted) information transfer, at the very least a phone-home, but I have no Wirshark captures to confirm this :)
My primary guess after looking at all the symptoms: the connection attempt is trying to see if there is internet connectivity, and if the attempt fails Windows assumes there is none... But this sounds really, really dumb.