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UK ISP Fluidata Prepares Network to Cope with Olympic Games Data Surge

Monday, Apr 23rd, 2012 (2:24 pm) - Score 504

Business ISP Fluidata, which earlier this year warned of the potential danger from an increase in office internet traffic during this year’s 2012 London Olympic Games (here), has today revealed how its own broadband network will cope with the event. A major £2.4M upgrade has also been announced.

Several other providers, such as Metronet UK, O2Wholesale (BE) and Eclipse Internet, have over the past few months also issued similar warnings. Most point the finger at an expected surge in video streaming traffic from online services like the BBCs iPlayer. MetroNet UK even suggested that many office LAN’s and internet connections “may not be capable of supporting multiple video streams” and could even “crash” user terminals.

Fluidata Statement – Preparing their Network for the Games

In the event of a black-out at one of our datacentres all DSL based services would automatically fail-over to one of several other sites and carry on working.

Our customers typically also have demand for high bandwidth as well as uptime, so capacity is carefully engineered with low thresholds set to trigger upgrades. On our DSL platforms routers are kept at no more than 30% usage during peak hours, with average across the network typically 15-20%. This ensures that traffic re-routed during a failure can be absorbed at other sites with ease.

Ethernet, colocation and leased line customers connect and route directly via our MPLS core network backbone, and typically place a higher demand on the network. This core is also the fabric which connects together our datacentres, so we use multiple 10 Gb/s wavelengths on our own WDM equipment to provide extremely scalable bandwidth.

In preparation for the Olympics we are operating with peak backbone usage typically between 5 & 10% and have plumbed in an additional 40 Gb/s of Internet transit routing capacity – enough to comfortably serve huge customer demands whilst being able to also cushion large DoS attacks.”

ISPs and businesses have now had plenty of time to prepare, not to mention the vital experience gained from past events (e.g. the recent FIFA World Cup). The CTO of business ISP Timico, Trefor Davies, has also published a particularly interesting schedule from the BBC that shows when the iPlayer service is expecting heavy traffic (red). The BBC is apparently planning for a peak of 1 Terabit per second.

Meanwhile the Official UK Government Guidance (PDF) continues to warn that “ISPs may introduce data caps during peak times to try and spread” the load, although some have started blaming the government for not issuing any further information as was promised. In reality any businesses that are still relying on the government probably haven’t done their homework, talk to your ISP instead.

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In short, most competent office IT networks should be able to manage it or will block video streaming entirely, while ISPs are already used to tackling such events and will have done as much as is economically viable to prepare. Some peak slowdown is perhaps to be expected but otherwise ISPs should cope.

Separately Fluidata has announced a £2.4M upgrade of their network, which is designed to boost their capacity in order to cope with future demands. Work will begin shortly after the Olympics are over.

Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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