Coronavirus challenges capacity, but core networks are holding up

As the coronavirus continues to spread and more people work from home, the impact of the increased traffic on networks in the US so far seems to be minimal.

No doubt that web, VPN and data usage is growing dramatically with the influx of remote workers.  For example, Verizon said it has seen a 34% increase in VPN traffic from March 10 to 17.  It has also seen a 75% increase in gaming traffic, and web traffic increased by just under 20% in that time period, according to Verizon.

Verizon said its fiber optic and wireless networks “have been able to meet the shifting demands of customers and continue to perform well. In small pockets where there has been a significant increase in usage, our engineers have quickly added capacity to meet customers’ demand.”

“As we see more and more individuals work from home and students engage in online learning, it is a natural byproduct that we would see an increase in web traffic and access to VPN. And as more entertainment options are cancelled in communities across the US, an increase in video traffic and online gaming is not surprising,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon in a statement. “We expect these peak hour percentages to fluctuate, so our engineers are continuing to closely monitor network usage patterns 24×7 and stand ready to adjust resources as changing demands arise.”

As of March 16, AT&T said that its network continues to perform well. “In cities where the coronavirus has had the biggest impact, we are seeing fewer spikes in wireless usage around particular cell towers or particular times of day because more people are working from home rather than commuting to work and fewer people are gathering in large crowds at specific locations.”

In Europe, Vodaphone say it has seen an 50% increase in data traffic in some markets.

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