IOS Updates and Real Time Visibility
We always watch what happens with IOS updates, and the latest IOS 8 update has hit some networks pretty hard. Several of our customers had such severe traffic spikes that they initially thought that they were under a DDOS attack. Fortunately using our real-time visibility tools, they were quickly able to realize that the traffic was IOS 8 updates, and were able to ensure that their networks still delivered a high QoE for their subscribers and that network fairness was maintained.
IOS Update DDOS Attack
We actually had several support calls come into the Procera support team because the DDOS protection mechanisms implemented in the Procera solution kicked in, and customers were concerned that there was a wide-scale attack occurring. Using our Dynamic LiveView technology, we were able to quickly isolate the problems to Apple Devices and the Apple Update signature.
IOS Update Worst Case
The worst case we saw occurred in a CIS mobile network, where traffic jumped an almost astonishing 4000% at peak from normal to become one of the biggest traffic sources on the network. This bandwidth was achieved even with the operator managing the traffic using fair usage for each subscriber to ensure that the rest of the network traffic was not affected by the download. This is an astonishing number for a non-video application, and is the network equivalent of an Apple flash mob.
The European mobile network below saw a big spike of over 1Gbps of Apple store updates in a very short time, with Apple Updates going from .01% of total network traffic to over 6% of the total traffic.
Another network in the Middle East saw a similar spike, with traffic (shown over the earlier part of the week) jumping over 1000% of normal rates, which would set off alarms in pretty much any network worldwide.
Managing IOS Updates
This brings up a very important consideration for network operators as high profile updates and new digital downloads become a normal course. With new applications moving to digital delivery rather than disc-based, release dates have the potential to significantly affect network performance and impact the subscriber experience. For example, I have not bought a single PS4 disc yet, with all my games being downloaded from the PlayStation Store – some with a file size of tens of GB. Past Apple IOS updates have affected networks, but none have had this level of network impact. If our customers were not able to quickly identify and manage this traffic, it would have had an impact on real-time traffic – namely voice and video – that would greatly affect customer satisfaction. IOS Updates are important, but maybe not as time sensitive as other traffic. This is a good example where operators need to be able to manage their networks to ensure that everyone receives a good Quality of Experience.
As always, we will keep watching for anything that impacts your Internet Experience!