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World Cup + Office Hours = Internet traffic increases
Wednesday 23 June 2010 18:32:50 by Sebastien Lahtinen

As England fans rejoice beating Slovenia 1-0, Internet Service Providers are carefully assessing the impact of the World Cup on their network capacity.

The match between England and Slovenia kicked off at 3 p.m. and this meant that more users were resorting to watching it online on BBC iPlayer or other streaming services whilst still at work. This phenomenon resulted in sharp traffic increases reported by various organisations.

Easynet Connect, which focuses on providing business broadband and Ethernet services is reporting a 226% increase in web traffic compared to today's average download rate, with a 114% increase since the match started. This puts it 73% up on its customers' overall bandwidth usage at this time last week.

Meanwhile the managing director of Fluidata, another business broadband provider, is reporting more than doubling the traffic levels as soon as the game started.

We have collated some latency and packet-loss measurements over this time from a few thousand users which suggest that when a game is on, especially when England is playing, there is a noticeable increase in both latency (the time it takes for a piece of information to get from the server to your computer) and packet loss (how many messages are lost along the path). Both of these would appear as pipes get congested, be they in local telephone exchanges, or on the Internet. You can view the World Cup packet loss and latency here. We have also seen some reductions in speed tests from some providers, which we are investigating.

On the Internet backbone, London based Internet exchange point LONAP saw an increase of over 100% on its traffic levels soon after 2 p.m. as users prepared to watch the match, setting its own new record of 29.5 Gbps. Internet exchanges facilitate efficient interchange of traffic between service providers and other network operators including those streaming events such as the World Cup. More information on World Cup traffic is also available on Akamai's micro-site.

According to the BBC, at peak over 800,000 users were watching the match online, beating previous record of 350,000 set yesterday with the budget and sporting events combined.

We may find that more viewers will tune into the next England match, however as that takes place on a weekend, it is more likely to be viewed on television rather than online, so we may find that networks are less congested.

Comments

Posted by boostar over 6 years ago
Hmm, Eclipse must have suffered more than most going by this. Usually get 27Mbps on Eclipse FTTC, average ping almost doubled with spikes around 250ms every few seconds. Also couldn't get more than about 400kbps throughput until the match ended and it still took some time to get even close to normal.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Isn't this just like the surge on power when everyone boils the kettle after a climatic episode or Eastenders or some other important "TV event"?
Posted by boostar over 6 years ago
Except that this surge lasted over 2 hours.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
@GMAN99 - Yes.. except it's broadband related :)
@otester - I suggest you rephrase your comment in more appropriate language
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
The difference with the power network is that it was/has been build to cope with spikes in demand. Broadband however (from BT) is build to only just cope with the norm.
Posted by JohnG1988 over 6 years ago
here my broadband speeds as seen by my samknows performance monitoring box http://www.flickr.com/photos/50323741@N02/4728276517/
Posted by nredwood over 6 years ago
http://beusergroup.co.uk/?id=366
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Nice link nredwood
Be performed ok apparantly, so did Sky, Talk Talk (both LLU sides) and Virgin.........

What a shocker eh, LLU and cable handled it better than non-llu/non-cable.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Sorry seb, what I meant to say:

This is what happens if you go with a bad provider!
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
@timmay - but electricity is deemed an "essential service" whereas in the UK, broadband is not. I think that has something to do with the QOS and availability of each :-)
Posted by silvryn over 6 years ago
@Otester..
I'm also an Eclipse subscriber and they are very good. But this has the entire 'dsl' network. Those on fibre are ok, but they are the lucky ones. This network usage has show that what the previous Gov suggested speed of 2Mbps was wholey inadequate, and BT had get its finger out before the Olympics comes along. Otherwise not only will we lowly users be Fubarred, but also the journo's who will need it also.
Posted by boostar over 6 years ago
No offence but those of us on fibre suffered the most, to the degree that I may in fact "break" my contract with them. "Guaranteed 12Mbps" my arse. I would have felt priviledged if I had gotten 1Mbps
Posted by ian72 over 6 years ago
I think you'll find it wasn't that long ago that electricity supplies suffered brown-outs at peak times. It took many years to sort the problem (by using things such as hydro-electric dams that could be used during peak demand and then refilled by electric pumps off peak).
Give broadband another 50 years and it will probably be as stable as the electricity grid now (although speak to my parents who get power blips at least once a week resetting all the clocks in the house!).
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
@timmay but its not the same, e.g the road agency doesn't build spare motorways along side the M1 because at certain times of the year the M1 gets really busy. It must be hard to justify huge increases in core bandwidth because of 4yr event that happen to coincide with being at work, hence a lot of users watching on the net vs TV
Posted by captjack over 6 years ago
I think looking at the comments something might have been missed. This isn't a BT / LLU issue. This is a mixture of capacity control, specific natural daytime/evening load and costs.
I will try explain .. Sky, Talk Talk Virgin etc are mainly residential users, who I guess would want to watch the match on a wide screen TV, not on a PC. The ppl who watched this were mainly in offices.(when the England matches were not business day, slight increases of capacity usage were seen) BT from what I remember has pretty similar daytime to evening usage.
Posted by captjack over 6 years ago
Opal (Talk Talk) from the stats I have seen have nearly twice as much Evening usage than Daytime, so this LLu service would ordinarily have the capacity needed to cover a spike in the Day, but maybe not in the Evening?. So comparing dissimilar services isn't fair.
Posted by captjack over 6 years ago
Also you have to look at the way 21CN broadband is charged out to ISPs .. you buy a set amount of capacity, then you can burst over it at peak times. You are then charged at 95 percentile for your burst. I do question when ISPs saw this spike in capacity, did they hit the capacity control button? Not hitting it gives end users a high quality Soccer game streamed to their PC, but potentiality at a cost of thousands of pounds. (20CN per Mbit around £130-140 and 21CN around £55).
Posted by captjack over 6 years ago
On the other hand clamping the pipe makes for a poor customer experience.
Now I own up ... we run both 21CN 20CN and Buy in a pipe from another LLu provider. We chose not to clamp, in the hope that the 2 hour burst would be eaten up in the top 5% of usage that we wont get charged for. If not This England match will cost us over £10,000.

Events like this maybe need some special arrangement from BT to ignore the burst. After all we like others burst over 137% of our normal usage.

Just some throughts.

Capt Jack
Posted by mattewan over 6 years ago
On a side note.... a pure fibre dedicated internet line @ 8mpbs from virgin media saw a bit of packet loss : http://www.thinkbroadband.com/ping/share/769897880ac8148c3dc488a83a159cbb-23-06-2010.html - but that may have been due to the amount of users watching the game at 3.
Posted by mattewan over 6 years ago
by my last comment i mean the amount of people watching the game at 3 in OUR office....
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
http://www.trefor.net/2010/06/23/uk-is-21-3-of-global-internet-traffic-during-england-v-slovenia-match-according-to-akamai/

This bit in Trefor puts the demand levels into perspective!!! Compare that to the US, given they were playing at the same time. An awful lot of people were watching.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
@silvryn

Eclipse is #36 on Ispreviews top50 list, thats good lol... just above BT and TT???
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Surprised we haven't yet had CD telling us that things would have been just fine if it weren't for the copper even though FTTC and FTTP over GEA were equally affected.

This is tricky - BTW are somewhat limited in how much bandwidth they can deliver on their network and their customers had some discretion as to how they handled the increased load.

LLUOs are largely residential so didn't really suffer as much, had they been more business-oriented they would have suffered too, no ISP can possibly budget based on that level of burst in demand.
Posted by silvryn over 6 years ago
@otester

My connection normally is 14+Mbit 24hrs a day. And the CS is quick to answer the phone when I've had occasion to ring them. So I couldn't ask for more, considering who I have been with.....BT being one of them :(
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote Dixinormous "LLUOs are largely residential so didn't really suffer as much, had they been more business-oriented they would have suffered too, no ISP can possibly budget based on that level of burst in demand."

Nonsense, many listed here http://beusergroup.co.uk/?id=366 provide services more to residential customers than they do business customers. It affected BT-resold garbage nothing more. CONT..
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Trying to say LLUs dont do business as the excuse is funny, UKonline target business nowadays (look at their site), O2 have business packages (see http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/3534-o2-release-business-broadband-and-nationwide-coverage.html), Easynet likewise focus on business. Didnt affect LLU as they dont do business indeed LMAO
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
It happens to BT resold stuff for a simple reason.... The price BT charge ISPs for capacity and bandwidth. ISPs want to keep costs as low as possible, so when the demand hits they dont have the capacity and bandwidth to meet it......... Its that darn simple. Roll on th olympics 2012 opening ceremony and this happening all over again, only worse as more will be on capacity limited BT fibre then.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I don't get your point Carpetburn, your (rightly) saying that the ISP's have only bought so much bandwidth from BT so when its busy (World Cup) its slows right down, how is that BT's fault. Its the ISP's for not foreseeing the demand and buying more surely?
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
CB there are 5 figures UKO customers next to over 2 million Sky BB. There are less than 10k Easynet customers. LMAO LOL ROFL.

Be's own graph shows a spike no higher than their normal evening usage. Spoke with a BSkyB employee he informed no real spike on their network either.

Stand by my comments regarding both LLUO customer split and where I quite clearly commented on BTW.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Just as a reminder: 'This is tricky - BTW are somewhat limited in how much bandwidth they can deliver on their network and their customers had some discretion as to how they handled the increased load.'

'LLUOs are largely residential'

No need to jump to the defence of the LLUOs, I didn't say anything about LLUOs not doing business, they all do, just that their traffic is largely residential which is stating the obvious.

BTW ISPs hit issues both at interconnect and across BTW's network. Even BTW-based ISPs that don't have huge business bases share resources with ISPs that do.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
So you reckon as 2 poor examples NDO and Demon have more business customers than Talk Talk and O2???

Its simple BT resold garbage failed, its BT at fault as they charge ISPs way too much for the bandwidth, i dont see how even a die hard BT fan can support them on this, its another example of how they cripple smaller ISPs and cripple those smaller ISPs customers.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
"its BT at fault as they charge ISPs way too much for the bandwidth" <----- I'm laughing hard
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
You always produce the classic's CB I'll give you that, so the bandwidth is there to buy, the ISP doesn't buy enough of it to cope with demand and its BT's fault because they charge for it? Come on man. It doesn't matter what the price is if an ISP doesn't normally need that amount of bandwidth they won't buy it as its a waste of their money, whether the prices are hundreds or thousands it doesn't matter an ISP will never buy more than they need to keep costs down an increase profit.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
The fault is of the ISP period. "Oh I'm sorry we don't have enough sandwiches to go around this lunch" - "What???? Why not why didn't you buy more bread" - "More bread have you seen the price?"

Its laughable.... it really is.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Its laughable.... it really is."

Thats the only thing i agree with especially when it wasnt just 3rd party ISPs that suffered but BT there self. Yep its funny part of the BT group itself also failed to meet demand.
Whatever happened to so called "assured" speed rates for SOME so called BT based Business ADSL services...... Opps another fail!
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Where is the list of ISP's that couldn't cope you are referring to?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
http://beusergroup.co.uk/?id=366

Look at the nice spike for BT internet, part of the BT group are they not? 60.67ms ping times as average which is worse than even some of the ISPs listed. No doubt led to reduced speed for some users.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
They are, but surely they are in the same boat as other ISP's they will be buying bandwidth from wholesale? And not enough of it for when the game was on.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"They are, but surely they are in the same boat as other ISP's they will be buying bandwidth from wholesale? And not enough of it for when the game was on."

LOL so BT services are rubbish then, you have a nice group flogging expensive bandwidth that even if you sub to a sister company within their group your service is rubbish...... What better way to shout avoid BT
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
BT Internet have to work the same as any other ISP. Ofcom state this - no advantages over others.

So why are you surprised that they suffered the same issue?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Im not suprise they all suffered its BT based.... Which is what i originally stated lol
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Ok :)
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