Internet connections could stumble for some if too many family members try to videoconference at the same time
The US internet won’t get overloaded by spikes in traffic from the millions of Americans now working from home to discourage the spread of the new coronavirus, experts say. But connections could stumble for many if too many family members try to videoconference at the same time. The core of the US network is more than capable of handling the virus-related surge in demand because it has evolved to be able to easily handle bandwidth-greedy Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services. “The core of the network is massively over-provisioned,” said Paul Vixie, CEO of Farsight Security and an internet pioneer who helped design its domain naming system.
But if parents are videoconferencing for work at the same time college and high school students are trying to beam into school, they could experience congestion. Figure a packet-dropping threshold of five or more users. That's because the so-called last mile is for most Americans provisioned for cable — download capacity is robust but upload limited. Fiber optic connections don't have the same issues and will do fine.
U.S. internet well-equipped to handle work from home surge, experts say