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UPD4 Release of Apple iOS 7 Software Causes UK Internet Traffic to Surge

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 (9:51 am) - Score 2,028

Broadband ISPs across the United Kingdom reported a surge in Internet traffic last night after yesterday’s 6pm release of the latest software update for Apple’s venerable iPhone and iPad began to stream its way into the wild. But the release wasn’t without a few hiccups.

Patience is a virtue and in this case it could have saved many people a lot of frustration had they simply chosen to wait a few days until the mass of early adopters had declined. But instead the insatiable desire to see the latest piece of iOS7 software come to life resulted in Apple’s servers struggling to keep up with demand and some people having to wait several hours for their update to complete.

The good news is that most broadband providers were prepared and had already set aside additional capacity, as well as some clever caching mechanisms, in order to keep the level of traffic under control. Admittedly we did see some sporadic reports of slightly slower service speeds but generally the update, at least in terms of the UK’s Internet infrastructure, went smoothly.

A quick look at the bandwidth statistics for LONAP, a neutral not-for-profit Internet Exchange Point based in London, would appear to show the moment just after 6pm (18:00 on the graph) when traffic suddenly began to surge well above the norm.

lonap internet traffic 18th september 2013

Apparently 58.2 Gigabits per second is somewhat of a record for LONAP and we’re currently seeking statistics from consumer ISPs to see what experiences they had. Several providers, such as Vispa Internet, last night said, “We’re watching our customers download iOS7 :). The world doesn’t have enough bandwidth!”, while niche wireless ISP HiWiFi added, “Seeing heavy network traffic due to iOS 7.0 downloads. Please be patient. Congestion is expected.”

We expect to update this article as more data comes in.

UPDATE 10:35am

Here’s a similar graph from HiWiFi, which starts on the left with Tuesday and then the highest point is the Wednesday night surge.

hiwifi_18th_september_2013_uk_internet_traffic

UPDATE 11:53am

Shropshire-based ISP Aquiss reports that traffic is currently still above normal due to iOS7 and as a result the performance of their network has been hit, “We are aware of slow speeds. This is due to iphone and ipad users updating devices following iOS7. Network double normal traffic levels.”

UPDATE 5:17pm

Sky Broadband has informed ISPreview.co.uk that their traffic levels were around 15-20% higher than normal, although like most ISPs their network suffered no real problems. Elsewhere PlusNet also reported a big surge and have written an extensive blog about it (here).

UPDATE 24th September 2013

TalkTalk’s broadband network hit a new record peak of 832Gbps (good they’re finally calling it Gigabits instead of GigaBytes), which is 6% higher than the previous peak of 787Gbps. Similarly one of the Content Delivery Networks (CDN) within TalkTalk’s infrastructure peaked at 165Gbps, which is 50Gbps higher than usual.

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