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Adapting to Distancing – INEX’s Traffic Story So Far

It feels much longer to many of us but it’s only 18 days since the Irish Government, in the interests of reducing the community spread of Coronavirus, announced the closure of schools and asked those of us that could work from home to do so. As we wrote recently, INEX has been preparing for an expected increase in traffic due to Covid-19 since the start of February, which included:

  • 30% extra capacity on the INEX core (the links between data centres where INEX has PoPs).
  • Member port capacity has also been increased by 30% and we are still adding and upgrading member ports on a near-daily basis.

The following graph compares peak traffic to 6PM on the week ending Monday March 30th (green) against the same period ending March 2nd (yellow).

Examining the data, we find:

  • The traffic peak increased 35% from 369Gbps to 498Gbps. More notably, before Covid-19, INEX’s all-time peak traffic was 415Gbps – this has been significantly exceeded almost every evening since March 12th.
  • Average traffic has grown by 20% from 265Gbps to 318Gbps. This is less pronounced than the peak traffic as the averages include the off-peak hours from midnight to 8AM where distancing has had little impact.

We also considered the effect on normal business-hours traffic over three recent Mondays: March 9th, before any restrictions were in place; March 23rd, after the schools had been closed but non-essential travel was allowed continue; and March 30th when all travel but for essential work was restricted.

This graph starkly illustrates the incremental difference these restrictions – and the affect on working habits – have made to internet traffic volume. The increase in average volume between March 9th and March 23rd was 13%. However, a more significant increase of 19% is found between March 23rd and 30th (overall 34% from the 9th to the 30th).

Similarly, peak traffic increased 31% during working-hours comparing March 9th to March 30th.

INEX publishes its traffic graphs here which are publicly available.