I have been getting a lot of requests for data on what is happening worldwide with more people practicing social distancing, events being cancelled, and people working from home. Sandvine is in a unique position with our Global Internet Phenomena customer base to see what is happening and, more importantly for many people, what is GOING to happen.
Right now, the global impact of COVID-19 on bandwidth has not taken hold. We have seen upticks in the countries where quarantines are already in effect (like this from Italy). I have been looking at the data every single day, and I am starting to see the first signs of change coming. What is my hypothesis for what is going to happen? It isn't rocket science, but here are the trends that I think will happen:
1. Video streaming will increase: Not a revolutionary prediction, but people that are working from home that are not used to it get distracted easily by the TV. It will be all video streaming — not just Netflix. The first sign that I have seen an increase in is actually YouTube, as people seek more information on the virus and what to do and see what other countries are doing.
2. VPN traffic will increase: This is a small portion of traffic in many places, but a lot of remote work will affect upstream usage more than downstream as people connect to company resources in the office remotely.
3. Video conferencing and messaging will increase: Messaging and video conferences (Zoom, Slack, etc.) will spike as people turn to remote interaction tools. This is happening, but still a very small part of traffic usage. Messaging will also increase as people use social networking sharing to update people on status and, frankly, because they are bored.
4. Gaming will spike: We already have seen signs of this — both download for PlayStation and XBox as well as actual game play. Will this be when cloud gaming gets a strong foothold? Maybe not, because the bandwidth will be constrained and you won't see great performance, but Fortnite, League of Legends, Rocket League, PUBG, and many others will all thrive.
So, the question is — can your network handle these increases? We will have some guidance for you coming out shortly that helps you figure out what to do on your network. Next week, I will have more on what is actually happening. I don't want to report on trends until they happen — but this is what will happen because historical trends make me think they will happen.
If you have questions or have seen anything on your network, feel free to share! And stay safe.