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Call of Duty Pushes Openreach UK Data Traffic to Record 189PB

Thursday, Jul 2nd, 2020 (3:37 pm) - Score 5,597
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The release of a major new Season 4 patch for the popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (CoD) video game, which occurred on Tuesday (30th June 2020), pushed “broadband traffic” over Openreach’s (BT) national UK network to a new daily record of 189 PetaBytes consumed.

The result is perhaps unsurprising since the CoD patch came in at between 22-30GB (GigaBytes) on the PlayStation, Xbox and PC. The size of these patches has begun to cause some frustration as it often forces those on slower broadband ISP lines to wait a lot longer before they can play, which isn’t ideal when a new season seems to drop every few weeks. Obviously that’s not such a problem if you have FTTP or one of Virgin Media’s faster tiers.

NOTE: 1 PetaByte is equal to 1,000 TeraBytes (TB) or 1,000,000 GigaBytes (GB).

The latest peak compares to the previous busiest days of Thursday 11th June (184PB) and Sunday 28th June (175.7PB). Data demands are constantly rising, which is natural, and so new peaks are always being set (i.e. by the end of 2020 we’ll be noticeably higher than even the latest record); this is one of the reasons why big ISPs often raise their prices once a year.

A spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk: “Tuesday saw the release of a patch for the Call of Duty game … There are also still huge numbers of people working and learning from home. The good news is that Openreach’s network has stood firm throughout the pandemic – coping with daytime increases in internet traffic of between 74% and 116% compared to before the lockdown.”

Openreach’s network is used by hundreds of ISPs, such as BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Zen Internet, Plusnet, Vodafone and so forth.

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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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20 Responses
  1. Avatar photo L says:

    Actually because of the sheer ammount of people downloading it, the download speed is extremely slow (at least on pc and on UK/closest servers). When I was downloading that exact uodate my speeds were in Kbits and rarely increasing to Mbps. I have a gigabit connection and it stills sucks.

    1. Avatar photo Brian Storey says:

      I’d echo the upstream bottle necks on this as well, although for this patch my experience wasn’t as bad as a previous update on 19th May. That time it took nearly 1 and a half hours (starting at approx 23:00) on my 1G FTTP. The first 45 mins of that was just painful.

    2. Avatar photo JmJohnson says:

      I feel privileged. I updated the full version on PC (38GB) and just WZ on PS4 (30GB) all in the same morning.
      There’s some tricks to it (changing region to Asia to use different CDNs).

    3. Avatar photo RaptorX says:

      I’ve noticed that slowdown too – almost to a stop for the latest patch. The fact it does is on Activision and there’s no excuse as they’re such a massive company with lots of resources to ensure sufficient bandwidth. If they used the Bittorent protocol on their download client, then the speed would actually increase to maximum with such a large number of people downloading the patches. I don’t know why they don’t do this.

    4. Avatar photo Leex says:

      Or just make sure you only sleep your console (not shut it down) ps and xbox has background update (wifi stays on and games get updated when sleeping)

  2. Avatar photo Mark says:

    The Fact that this game is pushing 185GB on Xbox one is a joke.

    1. Avatar photo spurple says:

      Why? I can almost promise that they’re not stuffing that space with zeroes just to annoy you.

      If this is a game you like, then find an upgrade for your storage. Makes no sense to impose an arbitrary cap of (say, 50GB) on the size a game can be when users want more and more detailed graphics and higher quality audio.

      Interestingly, if the 189PB of data is attributed to call of duty, then only about 6 million downloads occurred for the 30+GB patch. This is perhaps compared to total console install base in excess of 300 million units. I don’t get where the excitement is coming from.

    2. Avatar photo spurple says:

      Perhaps when qualified as UK-only data, then it is a bit more impressive.

    3. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      Absolutely, when most xbox ones have a 1Tb harddrive, one game taking up this space is utterly ludicrous.

    4. Avatar photo Mike says:

      Buy a PC.

  3. Avatar photo Bob2002 says:

    If you’re a teenager or work in the games industry I understand why you might download this, but the games industry ran out of new ideas decades ago … I’m baffled why any adult would waste their time on it.

    1. Avatar photo Gary says:

      Useful input, thanks for sharing.

    2. Avatar photo Spoffle says:

      Imagine not understanding how or why different people like things that are different to what you like.

    3. Avatar photo Mark says:

      The amount of new and interesting games being released nowadays is huge and the games industry is one of the most profitable of all the entertainment industry. The days of it being seen as a niche hobby are long past as is your point of view.

    4. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      I share your sentiment Bob. Dunno why I bothered buying an xbox one. The 360 was a far better console with far better games. It wasn’t next gen by a long chalk, still isn’t impressive even today.

  4. Avatar photo Scott Stewart says:

    Data throughput has nothing to do with ISPs increasing prices every year. The infrastructure is already there. The data isn’t being stored in an ISP cloud solution! Its a scam; same as having to pay line rental for BT copper that is as old as my house.

    1. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      Access network capacity isn’t free. Neither is getting the data from customers’ homes to ISP datacentres where the CDNs are.

    2. Avatar photo Gary says:

      Neither is paying engineers to fix your old line, or all the people that work at Openreach free, £100 a year for openreach for your line doesn’t exactly go very far fixing one fault regardless of whose line it is, let alone make a profit and invest in network upgrades.

      Would you expect to live rent free in an Old house, because, well it’s old.

      Of course, you don’t actually have to pay line rental if you don’t want to.

    3. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      While I’m back on this story the infrastructure is already there?

      I’m pretty sure that the infrastructure isn’t already there. New routers, line cards, etc, to carry the increased load cost money. The power, cooling and maintenance contracts for those routers cost money. The staff supporting the infrastructure and indeed customers cost money and they would hope for pay rises from time to time.

      The routers that cable modem customers connect to at Virgin Media directly are now way more powerful than the routers that were right at the core of their network, carrying everything, in the mid-2000s.

      BT Wholesale’s ongoing swap out of 200 Gbit/s Nokia 7750s for 2 Tb/s chassis isn’t being done for fun.

      Interfaces going from 10 Gbit/s to 40 then 100 and now 400 Gbit/s aren’t done for fun.

      When cable modem service was released ntl shared a 27 Mbit/s download channel, and 4 x 2.5 Mbit/s upload channels between 5,000 premises passed in some cases with upwards of a thousand customers across them all not being uncommon. How do you think that would go with 4k streams hitting 40 Mbit/s today?

      The fibre might be there. What goes either side needs upgrade constantly.

      The copper on your Openreach line: it’s rental, not hire purchase.

    4. Avatar photo Ferrocene Cloud says:

      Today I was discussing my employer’s core network upgrades. There were a lot of 0s in the cost.

      Building, maintaining, and upgrading is expensive work.

      Even fibre, as great as it is, needs maintaining. You might not have to upgrade the fibre itself (usually), but the ongoing repairs fixing breaks and bad joints costs money.

Comments are closed

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