Network management refers to the activities, methods, procedures, and tools that pertain to the operation, administration, maintenance, and provisioning of networked systems.
By all indications, the shift in traffic patterns has now stabilized, and we can start to make some conclusions about what really happened:
We know from the experience in the United States that the fiber and cable networks providing from tens up to 1,000 Mbps speeds are holding up well as traffic has increased. The problem arises at DSL, a technology that allows several Mbps data connections over copper wires, often can only support 15 Mbps or less over short distances from a central office. Next-generation VDSL can provide up to 200 Mbps over distances of less than 200 yards from a central office.
While network usage is still above pre-COVID-19 levels, the increases are starting to calm down a bit, according to Comcast and Verizon. Comcast said it was starting to see network traffic plateau in most places, including early work from home markets such as Seattle and California. For Comcast, which has the biggest residential internet network in the US, there has been a 33% increase in upstream traffic since March 1 while downstream traffic is up by 13%. As more people work from home, they're connecting to their work VPNs.
Akamai Technologies maintains a major international content delivery network. Alex Balford, Akamai’s senior manager for media product marketing, said, “Traffic increased 30% between the end of February and end of March, 10 times greater than the normal month-to-month growth rate that we normally see. To put that into perspective, we saw roughly a year’s worth of growth in a month’s time frame.” In addition to sharply increased traffic, Balford noted something else about COVID-19 data traffic.
As some states ease stay-at-home restrictions, mobile handoffs (the times when a data session moves from one cell site to another as users walk or drive around) are starting to return to near pre-COVID levels in some regions, according to the latest Verizon Network Report. The Carolinas and Tennessee region are 1% below a typical day while the Georgia and Alabama region is down only 5% and the Central Gulf Coast region is down only 9% below a typical day.
To evaluate how our members’ DOCSIS (Hybrid Fiber-Coax) and Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks’ performed during the emergency, ACA Connects retained the strategy consulting firm, Cartesian, to perform an in-depth analysis. Cartesian found that despite the surge in Internet usage, our members’ networks continue to provide the same high-quality experience their customers have come to depend on. During the COVID-19 pandemic:
CenturyLink’s Chief Technology Officer Andrew Dugan said that some European regulators asked two groups of internet content providers to slow down their traffic in response to increased network loads stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. The two groups of content providers are over-the-top (OTT) video companies and gaming companies. EU Industry Chief Thierry Breton had urged streaming platforms including Netflix and YouTube to cooperate with telecom providers and temporarily downgrade the quality of video streaming by offering standard definition rather than high definition video.
The Internet itself is being tested like never before. To understand how these challenges are testing, more than ever, both the Internet’s technical foundation and the society that relies on it, the Center for Data and Computing (CDAC) is launching a new initiative to deploy our expertise and collaborative relationships towards studying how this pandemic has affected the Internet network — how it is responding globally, and how well local communities are able to make use of it.
According to the latest Verizon Network Report, overall data volume across its networks has increased 19% compared to pre-COVID levels. While data usage remains at elevated levels, the changes in how people are using the network has stabilized. Peak data usage in several categories shows small week to week changes, though peak usage numbers remain high compared to typical pre-Covid-19 levels. In the US, there has been a notable decline in people’s movements during the course of the global pandemic.
In the fourth week of its COVID-19 Internet Dashboard, NCTA-the Internet & Television Association said that peak broadband growth, both downstream and up, has plateaued.