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Call of Duty Warzone – LINX Sees Record UK Internet Traffic

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020 (9:06 am) - Score 9,100

Last night’s release of the new ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ video game, which came in at a hefty 83-101GB (GigaBytes) in size, caused traffic at a number of UK broadband ISPs to surge and resulted in the London Internet Exchange (LINX) reporting a new “all time high” of 4.73Tbps (Terabits per second) on their switches.

The free-to-play battle royale style FPS game was released in two different stages last night. Firstly, those who already own the full version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare were able to download Warzone as a large update (18-22GB). Secondly, those who don’t own CoD:MW were, a little later, given access to download Warzone as a standalone game (83-101GB).

Broadband providers are able to deal with major game releases like this and many will optimise their networks by caching the content closer to their users, which reduces the overall impact on their capacity links. Nevertheless there’s no escaping just how dramatic the impact can be, which is often well illustrated by taking a look at a week’s worth of data traffic over some of the LINX switches.

Overall traffic peaked last night at 4.73Tbps on LINX, with new all-time highs on LINX Scotland (12.54Gbps) and LINX Manchester (150Gbps). The impact on their main London (LON1 and 2) servers was less significant, although traffic levels still moved a fair bit above their normal curve (we’ll only show LON1 below as that’s main one). The primary peaks occurred between 8pm and 10pm last night.

linx_traffix_uk_internet_march_11_2020

Some ISPs may well have suffered a small slowdown in broadband speeds during this peak. All of this is of course relevant to some of the current and quite misleading concerns around the impact of COVID-19 on consumer internet traffic and broadband connectivity (here).

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Marty

    I reckon as demand increases an upgrade might be needed years from now. Not sure what the drives exchanges are using but as SSD’s drop in price might be worth using them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started using them already.

    • Avatar Richard

      CDN’s already do use SSD’s (maybe not all exclusively, some might still have HDD’s for content not called upon often) although “hot” content will reside in volatile memory as thats even faster.

      See https://www.fastly.com/network-map for some example insight on hardware.

      Also worth noting that CDN’s caches can be at varying locations network wise. Outside of an ISP and inside (which might also mean big beefier installs vs smaller on-net clusters)

    • Avatar Marty

      Ah didn’t know that I’II check it out thanks for the input Richard.

    • Avatar Andrew Campling

      Bear in mind that, if you use a DNS provider other than your ISP, you may bypass its CDN capability – this is especially likely if you’re using an alternative encrypted DNS provider. Not a show-stopper necessarily but it may result in a more sluggish user experience some of the time.

    • Avatar spurple

      @andrew with any modern TCP stack that is not cluelessly configured by the OS vendor, bypassing Your ISP’s local cache would not necessarily degrade your download speeds to noticeable levels due to Window Scaling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TCP_window_scale_option ).

      I always bypass my ISP DNS because they have the annoying habit of intercepting DNS error responses for serving advertising and so on.

    • Avatar spurple

      I wish we could get stats of what fraction of currently installed capacity the peaks are 🙂

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