Coronavirus pandemic brings on a new global concern: Data traffic and network congestion

  • Video streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube have consented to relegate their streaming quality for 30 days.
  • Facebook and Instagram have also decided to reduce their video streaming quality for the time being.

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps getting more intense with each passing day, and as mass panic and distress related to the disease increase globally, more and more people are implementing the social distancing and voluntary lockdown measures. Being home-bound, and nothing much else to do, the usage of the internet has dramatically increased too. But now, there is a chance that due to the unprecedented usage, the Internet may melt down under the strain of network congestion and data traffic.

Did you know that the traffic from video streaming can account for two-thirds of the overall network, be it fixed or mobile? Statistically speaking, videos account for 65% of data to be delivered from the internet providers to the users, while Netflix and YouTube both account for 12% each.

So, to combat this impending issue, EU officials appealed to the streaming application services to pitch down their HD videos to avoid the internet from crashing down.

Listening to their plea and understanding the situation, Netflix and YouTube decided to take prompt actions in this regard. A Netflix spokesperson has said that as per their estimate, the downgrading of streaming quality will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks but simultaneously will keep providing good quality service to the subscribers. YouTube also plans to do the same along with continuing working with member state governments and network operators to decrease the overall strain. Amazon and Disney are also going to reduce streaming bitrates on their video services.

Verizon’s CEO, Hans Vestberg has claimed that his company's US network is prepared to handle the increased demands that have caused a 75% jump due to gaming traffic and a 30% leap in VPN usage as compared to the previous week.

Acknowledging this whole situation, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg also said that this increased demand due to the over-usage of the internet during this pandemic is beyond their annual spike! Video calling and messaging has surged than its usual rate. So, Facebook and Instagram also decided to decrease their streaming quality for the time being.

But video streaming is not the only culprit. As businesses, schools, and universities have shut down, people are bound to study and work from home, which officiates the live streaming of classes and conferences, and live streaming is usually more demanding than video streaming for the internet providers.

Hopefully, the steps being taken by these companies will help people in these trying times. But the public needs to be a little responsible too. Along with taking special care of their health, they should avoid unnecessary live streaming to elude data trafficking as much as possible too.

A little consideration on everyone’s part can keep our internet connections stable in these times of uncertainty and distress.

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