March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Network Traffic Spike

The unprecedented changes in society due to the COVID-19 pandemic are having major implications on the communications network. Network usage patterns are shifting dramatically. Network traffic that would have been routed across large wide area network pipes in the enterprise and workplace has now been shifted to individual homes, as millions of people are now in ‘work from home’ status.

Initial indications show that the network seems to be holding up.  OpenVault reports that bandwidth traffic during business hours has increased by 41% for the average subscriber. Probably thanks to the millions of students who are at home during the day now, thanks to school closings, Verizon reports gaming traffic on their network has increased 75%.

Both AT&T and Verizon report significant spikes in voice traffic as well. Verizon reports a 25% increase in voice traffic. “Typically, Mother’s Day is always our highest Sunday call volume,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon in a prepared statement. The weekday calling numbers are now significantly exceeding the national holiday honoring Mom.”

AT&T reported wireless voice traffic was up 44% on March 22, compared to usage on a normal Sunday. In addition, AT&T reports Wi-Fi calling also jumped significantly, up 88% for AT&T, versus usual Sunday activity. T-Mobile reports messaging is up dramatically, with a 26% increase in SMS (texting) and a 77% increase in MMS (pictures, multi-party texts, etc.).

With so many people working from home, VPN usage has spiked globally as well. VPN provider NordVPN reports that VPN usage on their platform has increased 165% globally since March 11. Within the U.S., VPN usage has increased 65%, according to NordVPN.

ETI is honored to work with the service providers all across the country that are operating these networks and keeping our country connected during this critical time. We’re all in this together and our communications networks quite literally are holding everything together. Please contact us and let us know of any way we can support this inspiring effort.

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