Social distancing means entire world is streaming online, could it break the internet?

By:  |  Category: Blog Friday, March 27th, 2020  |  No Comments

All these great ideas for things to do during a quarantine or ‘shelter in place’ order, and we still sit in the same spot day after day, binge-watching our favorite TV shows. We hope that’s not the case for all of you, but according to the strain on internet bandwidth, it very well might be.

Countries around the world are on lock-down to contain the spread of COVID-19, causing European Commissioner Thierry Breton to request that people and companies “#switchtostandard definition when HD is not necessary.”

The EU internal market covers upwards of 450 million people, all streaming and accessing the internet as they stay safe inside their homes.

Breton and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings have been in communication and agree that it’s up to telecom operators, streaming platforms, and users to “ensure the smooth functioning of the internet.” 

A Netflix spokesperson has explained that Netflix adjusts the quality of its streams to the available network capacity and uses a special delivery network keeping its library closer to users which in turn consumes less bandwidth.

Although no negative effects or outages have been experienced yet, there “has been a sharp increase in internet usage,” prompting the need to monitor traffic and respond to capacity issues.

Not only is Netflix experiencing rapid bandwidth growth as users seek refuge from boredom, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook’s services are facing “big surges” in usage as millions are forced to stay in their homes. The surge in use is “well beyond” the main spike usually seen only on holidays like New Year’s Eve. Voice and video calls have also doubled their usual levels.

While some areas of the world have not seen drastic rises at all, such as South Korea seeing an increase of only 5 percent, other areas ranging from Seattle, WA all the way to Italy have experienced growth between 30 and 40 percent (in comparison to pre-Covid-19).

While this increase has and will cause outages in certain areas, it will not “break” the internet (although to some an outage may seem like it). According to the CTO of Cloudflare, John Graham-Cumming, it would take more than just a sustained increase to bring the system crashing down.

As with all things, time will heal any severed connections and the internet will be back to ensure everyone is updated and entertained. 

(You can also check your Wi-Fi connection, sometimes the weakest link is found inside your home!)

If you need help setting up your work-from-home station and managed services for yourself or your team, EnhancedTECH is here to help. Give us a call 714-970-9330.

-Emmy Seigler

Sources: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/netflix-urged-to-slow-streaming-to-save-internet/ar-BB11ph1L?li=AA4Zoy

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/coronavirus-internet-speed-shut-down

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/closeup-photo-of-person-holding-panasonic-remote-control-in-front-of-turned-on-smart-television-987586/

Samantha Keller
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