World Cup + Office Hours = Internet traffic increases
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.
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.