Don’t worry; The New Corona Virus Will Not “Damage” The Internet.
Although some web services do face interruptions, the Internet is still basically stable under the impact of the new crown virus.
From South Korea to the UK, hundreds of millions of people around the world are self-isolating. Facts have proved that this method of staying at home and minimizing going out is the best way to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.
Correspondingly, the time people spend on the Internet will naturally be prolonged-people even have symptoms similar to “Internet addiction” on a large scale. But the good news is that although some top-rated web services have been disrupted recently, as far as we know, the Internet is still basically stable under the impact of the new crown virus.
John Graham-Cumming, the chief technology officer of Cloudflare, a network infrastructure and security company, said, “People are flooding the Internet like a tide, and the number of people has been rising. Whether it is day or night, it is a controlled area or a region that has not been severely affected by the virus. Regionally, the frequency of Internet usage continues to increase.
Of course, the specific increase in internet usage varies from country to country. Compared with before the COVID-19 outbreak, the growth rate of Internet usage in Seattle, the United States was about 40%; the growth rate in Italy was about 30%. However, in several regions such as South Korea, the overall utilization rate of the Internet has not increased significantly: According to data released by Cloudflare, the overall utilization rate in South Korea has only increased by 5%. However, according to data released by Internet speed tester Ookla, South Korea’s Internet usage has increased by 12% to 15%.
In any case, the most important thing is: Where does this extra usage come from? Graham-Cumming pointed out that “Internet traffic is beginning to shift away from businesses and universities.” This happens because people are starting to leave towns and urban centres. , Put the time used initially for work into a personal residence located in the suburbs.
Generally speaking, the continuous use of the Internet is at the highest level during workdays, while the number of online users on weekends has decreased. Understandably, after all, people are reluctant to spend time sitting in front of computer screens after work. With the spread of the new coronavirus, this model has not changed much. Graham-Cumming said, “When people go home from getting off work, the Internet traffic will peak at 7 or 8 in the evening. We are very familiar with the peak traffic, but we are not used to the current overall increase in the total level.”
This increase in overall usage does put the Internet under considerable pressure. The backbone of the Internet consists of hundreds of networks, which are jointly owned by governments, commercial suppliers, and academic institutions. This Internet exchange diagram shows numerous information exchanges between sub-networks supporting the backbone network.
The sub-Networks Are Connected Through Thousands Of Miles Of Submarine Internet Cables
Avi Freedman, CEO of Kentik, a network analyst firm, explained, “If you turn off cable TV in London and divert all viewers to the Internet, the local network in London will explode in an instant. The Internet cannot carry such intensity, and bandwidth at all levels will be reduced. There is a shortage. However, if we double the capacity of 20% of the main services on the Internet, we can basically solve the problem.”
As people move from the office to the home, visits to various online services have begun to surge. As commuting needs have decreased, children are staying at home longer and longer, and users have also flocked to video conferencing services, games, and streaming media platforms. An executive of Telecom Italia said on an analyst conference call, “According to the report, Internet traffic through the fixed network has increased by more than 70%, and games such as “Fortress Night” occupy considerable network resources.”
Steam reported the highest number of concurrent users in history, with more than 20 million users logged in simultaneously. Downloads of food delivery apps have also seen a surge. According to the data released by the application analysis manufacturer AppAnnie, the downloads of business, telemedicine and education applications have also achieved rapid growth.
At the request of the European Commission, Netflix has agreed to reduce the quality of its streaming services in Europe within a 30-day period. The company said that lowering image quality can reduce Netflix’s network transmission pressure by about 25%. Netflix and other video service providers currently generally use the so-called adaptive bit rate encoding streaming method, which can automatically reduce the video quality when the network capacity is insufficient to ensure a smooth viewing experience.
But Freedman also pointed out that the current use of streaming media services is not the primary source of pressure on the Internet backbone. On the contrary, the real pressure comes from the use of a single service that always maintains a specific state. The change in online mode has caused a lot of trouble: Xbox Live and Nintendo Online have been unavailable, and Microsoft’s collaboration tool Teams has also suffered downtime. During this period, the British mobile network also encountered connectivity problems. Still, executives of various companies have stated that all this has nothing to do with the outbreak of the new crown virus.
In response to concerns that the existing network cannot meet demand, BT stated that they are “confident” to cope with the increased usage of people at home for a long time. British Telecom pointed out that the historical peak of network energy has reached 17.5 Tb per second, but the daytime traffic during the new coronavirus period only increased by 35% to 65%, with a peak value of 7.5 Tb per second. BT also found that mobile data usage decreased by 5% during the period. This is because people will, of course, access Wi-Fi networks at home; at the same time, the usage of voice calls has also increased.
Freedman added, “I don’t think the problem now is a systemic failure, but more like a three-week sensitive period of normal downtime in the original six months. There is no unprecedented new situation here. It’s just that when the trend is advancing rapidly, people always feel that there are more problems. Web services have been crashing, but recently everyone has become more concerned and more sensitive.”
The problem is largely caused by a single service rather than caused by the overall infrastructure. Graham-Cumming pointed out, “The good news is that various top-rated service providers are working hard to expand their reception capabilities.” Most online platforms are using cloud service hosting systems provided by Microsoft, Amazon, or Google. When demand increases, These platforms can automatically add new servers. Video conferencing service Zoom can be said to be one of the biggest beneficiaries since the outbreak of COVID-19. The company stated that its engineering operations team had added servers in all 17 data centres under its umbrella.
Luke Deryckx, chief technology officer of Ookla, explained, “I think that the current network congestion is basically an isolated problem. Most of the problems are in the network of a single town, rather than the Internet exchange centre located in Amsterdam or London.”
However, people still complain that the Internet speed in their homes seems to be slowing down. Is this true? It is possible because many families log on to the streaming media or video call platform at the same time, it is indeed possible to occupy more local transmission resources. Deryck said, “Compared to mobile devices, the large amount of bandwidth will indeed have a stronger impact on the speed and performance of the fixed network.”
Another thing to emphasize is that people often use Wi-Fi routers at home, and the stability of such devices is notoriously bad. Deryck pointed out, “Many consumers will scold Internet service providers for the first time when they experience poor network stability. But the truth is that the provider’s network is generally more stable, and the weakest link is in the consumer’s home. “Therefore, if you feel that the network is not good recently, it is best to see if your router has not been restarted for a long time.