With most of the world in lockdown, the data traffic going through operators’ mobile and fixed infrastructure also increased. Thanks to cloud and proactive action from companies like Google, Netflix and Microsoft in lowering the (video) quality of their services, internet survived the added pressure.
Nokia has been measuring how the traffic on the internet grows during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a blog post Nokia updated on April 9, the most recent data about internet traffic was released.
Some general stats are that Nokia saw weekday peek traffic increase from 45 to 50%, while weekend evening traffic increased 20 to 40% compared to the pre-lockdown period. New findings show a continued growth in “upstream traffic” (meaning data the consumer uploads) of about 30%. Nokia explain this by the growth of video conferencing, which is a logical explanation considering all business that could work from home now and the whole education system in most of Europe moved online.
Another interesting finding is the increase of traffic caused by DDOS attacks. A Distributed Denial of Service attack is when a number of devices send network requests to a website with the goal of overwhelming the server to slow down or prevent legit users from using the site. Nokia saw a growth of 40% in DDOS internet traffic.
How popular content can affect network traffic was recorded last week in Spain. The fourth season of the popular La Casa De Papel series (eng. Money Heist) was released on Friday 4th April, causing a 47% peak traffic increase compared to the Friday a week before. Netflix streams were up 36% compared to the pervious Friday.
For all of us that use streaming services, Nokia reports that the average bitrate (quality) increased 11%, which is a great development considering Netflix lowered their streaming quality to allow critical infrastructure to have uninterrupted access to the internet. Of course, one would expect, mainly from operators, that they can handle the traffic their users pay them for, but this situation shows that a sudden increase in traffic probably couldn’t been handled this well without different content platform limiting their users.
You can find more details about Nokia’s network traffic findings here.