I have always been fascinated by how the digital delivery of content can affect broadband networks. I did a study when the PS4 was released on what it took me to update the PS4 and get 4-5 good games downloaded to the platform (it was ~75GB if I recall correctly). Every time that Apple releases a software update or Microsoft releases patches, network operators see spikes on their networks.
But Windows 10 has set a new standard for broadband operators that fear digital delivery of software. Below is a capture from a major ISP in Europe for the first 24 hours of traffic for Windows 10:
This represents a significant amount of traffic to instantly introduce to an operator’s network – on par with what we saw when Netflix was introduced into new countries (like Australia earlier this summer). Any operator that is told, “Your traffic will spike an ADDITIONAL 30Gbps today,” will start to panic. This is exactly the amount of traffic we saw in the first weekend of Netflix’s launch in Australia – but this graph is just for Windows 10 software delivery – and just for one service provider in Europe.
Another view comes from a small European mobile operator where traffic jumped 10% due to Windows Update only – adding about 1.2Gbps of traffic at peak to their network – which is a lot for a small mobile operator to cope with in a single day. The graph showing this is below:
This problem will only get worse as software is increasingly delivered digitally. I personally have yet to buy a disc for my PS4 – all of my games (usually at 10-50GB a download) have been downloaded. I have many other “cloud-based” services (like Adobe Creative Cloud) that regularly download new apps or update. Many operators actually manage software updates (Wi-Fi operators do this extensively as many devices immediately try to download updates the moment that they connect via Wi-Fi). So be ready operators – Netflix and streaming video are not your only “spikes” that you have to deal with for peak hour usage on your networks.
Curious as to how your network is performing? Check out our ScoreCard solution – which helps operators understand how their network is delivering quality to their subscribers – with a specific metric for download speed that digital downloads expect from the network.
"Cam is the Vice President of Global Marketing at Sandvine and responsible for Sandvine's overall global marketing. He is an avid follower of and the author of the Global Internet Phenomena report on network trends. He also loves football (the real kind played with a round ball) as well as an active blogger for Sandvine on a wide range of technology and business issues.
Areas of expertise: Internet trends, virtualization, analytics, network optimization, enterprise services