Nokia: U.S. Networks ‘Handling Traffic Well … So Far’

Nokia Deepfield finds that peak traffic increased by another 10%-20% over the previous weekend amid COVID-19 quarantine
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U.S. internet consumption keeps increasing with more quarantined Americans conducting remote work and schooling, as well as streaming more video and playing more online games.

But at least so far, U.S. networks are “holding up well,” according to broadband data and insights unit Nokia Deepfield.

The group found that peak internet traffic increased another 10%-20% last weekend, which culminated the week starting Monday, March 16 and ending Sunday, March 22. The cumulative traffic increase amid COVID-19 social distancing is somewhere between 30%-50%, Nokia Deepfield said.

In some cases, peak traffic is 50% over what we’d see on a normal weekend.

Most of the traffic is coming from video streaming. But Nokia has observed a 300% growth rate in remote conferencing traffic stemming from platforms including Zoom and Skype. It’s also detected a 400% increase in gaming traffic.

In Europe, Nokia Deepfield said bitrate curtailments initiated by Netflix and YouTube have “provided relief” to local networks.

But globally, “service providers are starting to see the increased strain and are approaching capacity on some peering likes and edge routers.” 

According to a report released by BroadbandNow, the increased usage is taking a toll on speeds. The group found that 88 of the 200 most populated U.S. cities has experienced some decrease in average internet speed in recent weeks. Twenty-seven of these cities have seen reductions of 20% or more. 

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