With little to do at home while we wait for the world to re-open, many have turned to streaming video from YouTube and Netflix and to various gaming services, while others have been engaging in video calling for either professional or personal reasons at an unprecedented rate.
With all this internet activity one would expect bandwidth would have slowed to a crawl, but Edge computing company Fastly reports little impact.
They note that in the New York/New Jersey region internet traffic jumped by 44.6% in March, but download speeds decreased by only 5.5%. In California, traffic increased by 46.5% in March, while download speed actually increasing by 1.2%.
Fastly concluded that “we can confidently say that the internet is holding up quite well despite experiencing a persistently increased load.”
Network company Nokia reported that video-conferencing traffic increased by 700% since Feb. 1, streaming doubled and overall traffic increased 40%, but despite this said, “we have seen the stabilization of peak demand, with manageable traffic growth.”
David Belson, the Internet Society senior director of Internet Research and Analysis, thinks he knows why the network is holding up so well:
“The application providers (such as Microsoft with Office 365 and Google with G Suite) have been doing a lot of work scaling out in many cases accelerating their year long scaling plans into a week or two. I know that a lot of the IXPs (Internet exchange points) have gone to their participants with offers that basically say like, ‘Hey, whatever you need, it’s low cost, it’s no cost, basically peer with whoever you can at whatever rates you can.’ So there’s been a lot of work done there to help I think either minimize or limit those bottlenecks.”
In short, a range of diverse companies chose to work together in the interest of the network and consumers and have managed to weather a tsunami of traffic, which is, of course, the original spirit of the internet. Hopefully, we can all emulate these network engineers by pulling together to overcome the adversity which is challenging all of us at present.