Network traffic increases by 50% during lockdown, says Nokia

Network traffic increases by 50% during lockdown, says Nokia

17 November 2020 | Natalie Bannerman

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Nokia Deepfield has published its latest Network Intelligence Report entitled Networks in 2020.

The 50-page report examined service provider network traffic and consumption trends throughout 2020, which has undoubtedly been a tumultuous year thanks to Covid-19. Specifically, the report targeted network service providers across Europe and North America between February and September 2020.

“Never has so much demand been put on the networks so suddenly, or so unpredictably,” said Manish Gulyani (pictured), general manager and head of Nokia Deepfield. “With networks providing the underlying connectivity fabric for business and society to function as we shelter-in-place, there is a greater need than ever for holistic, multi-dimensional insights across networks, services, applications and end users.

“Nokia Deepfield’s software applications has allowed service providers to understand activity in their networks in these critical times. The data and insights we’ve drawn on for this report also show how continuity of service can be ensured to create value for their customers.”

According to the findings, many networks experienced a year’s worth of traffic growth - 30-50% - in just a few weeks after Covid lockdown measures came into effect. However, by September traffic had even out at 20-30% above pre-pandemic levels, with further seasonal growth to come.

From February to September, there was a 30% increase in video subscribers, a 23% increase in VPN endpoints in the US and a 40-50% increase in DDoS traffic. Peering traffic also saw a 100%+ increase as on-net caches reached their capacity.

As for key learnings for service providers the report showed:

  1. The networks were made for this. Meaning that while the networks held up during this time data from September 2020 showed that traffic levels remain high even as lockdowns are eased; meaning, service providers will need to continue to engineer headroom into the networks for future requirements.
  2. Content delivery chains are evolving. Demand for streaming video, low-latency cloud gaming and video conferencing, and fast access to cloud applications and services, all placed unprecedented pressure on the internet service delivery chain.
  3. Residential broadband networks have become critical infrastructure. With increased needs, accelerating rollout of new technologies – such as 5G and next-gen FTTH – will go a long way towards improving access and connectivity in rural, remote and underserved areas.
  4. Deep insight into network traffic is essential. Service providers must be able to have real-time, detailed network insights at their disposal – fully correlated with internet traffic insights – to get a holistic perspective on their network, services and consumption.
  5. Security has never been more important. DDoS traffic increased between 40-50% during the pandemic and protecting network infrastructure and services has become critical. Therefore, agile and cost-effective DDoS detection and automated mitigation are becoming paramount mechanisms to protect service provider infrastructures and services.