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Smoothwall Fears Web Connections Will Grind to a Halt During 2012 Olympics

Tuesday, Jul 17th, 2012 (7:55 am) - Score 745

Smoothwall, a developer of internet filtering solutions for UK schools, has warned that serious connectivity problems could potentially start “occurring every day” during the London 2012 Olympic Games and in some cases web connections might even “grind to a halt” completely. Much as they did for O2 last week.

The firm warns that last week’s unrelated failure of O2’s mobile voice and data network (here) “could just be the start of things to come” during the Olympics as “unprecedented numbers” of people make use of their home or office broadband ISP connections to view video streams of the action.

Tom Newton, Product Manager of Smoothwall, said:

Hundreds of thousands of O2’s customers found themselves without voice and data connections this week which demonstrates how fragile communications networks can be and the huge impact when they fail.

When the Games start we could see these types of problems occurring every day because most Olympic events will take place during the working day so there will be huge demand for bandwidth as people attempt to stream events at their desks.

Any businesses or organisations without IT policies and other measures in place to maintain productivity on their networks could face problems as web connections grind to a halt and endless working hours are lost because employees are watching the Games instead of doing their jobs.

Some businesses may simply want to block Internet access to the Olympics but with so many staff bringing their own smart-phones or tablets into the workplace this isn’t the most effective approach and can also cause resentment amongst employees.”

Furthermore Newton fears the potential for malware (malicious software) to spread by becoming attached to videos from YouTube and other sharing sites, which he warns could “result in major IT problems for both personal and business users during the Games“. Sadly no evidence is cited to support this claim.

Naturally Smoothwall, like so many of the other firms that have issued similar warnings, has a vested interest in presenting the worst case scenario. Indeed there could be problems during the games but for the vast majority that will merely manifest itself as a slowdown during peak periods or popular events.

Otherwise most ISPs and businesses have already prepared themselves to cope with any expected rises in demand, much as they’ve done for other recent events like the hugely popular Euro 2012 (football) tournament; usually with no ill effects.

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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