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Virgin Media and Openreach See UK Internet Traffic Surge for Call of Duty UPDATE

Thursday, August 6th, 2020 (4:16 pm) - Score 5,351

Broadband ISP Virgin Media has revealed that Wednesday’s release of the new Call of Duty: Warzone Season 5 patch saw internet traffic over their network spike to 60% higher than the same time last week. During peak time (8pm to 10pm) there was also a 20% uplift in traffic. Openreach (BT) and TalkTalk were also hit.

The surge is hardly a surprise since the update weighed in at a hefty 34 GigaBytes on the PS4, while it was 50GB on the Xbox and 47GB on PC, which also made it one of the largest updates since Warzone mode was first released. Meanwhile another video game, Fortnite, also released a smaller 2GB update on the same day that could have contributed to the uplift in traffic.

Overall, an additional 22 Petabytes of data was downloaded compared to Monday to Friday last week, with Northern Ireland and Wales seeing the largest uplift. At the peak of recorded traffic, the equivalent of more than 52 PS4 Warzone patches worth of data was being downloaded each second.

Traffic levels were kept in check as PS4 players had the ability to pre-download the update for the first time on Tuesday 4th August, which also saw a 10% uplift in peak time traffic compared to the last four Tuesdays,” said a spokesperson for Virgin Media. The operator also noted that their average broadband speeds across all packages “remained stable and above the headline speed” during this period.

Suffice to say that ISPs are comfortable with having to tackle such events and pressures on their networks. Many also employ Content Delivery Networks (CDN), which help to cache popular content closer to their end-users and this reduces the strain on external capacity links. You can also see the impact of Wednesday’s traffic on switches at the London Internet Exchange (LINX).

NOTE: LINX does NOT provide a complete overview of internet traffic flow from all of the ISPs, but they do offer a useful indication of how much extra traffic is flowing around.

linx august 5th 2020 traffic

Meanwhile, on the same day, Openreach (BT) reported the “the highest level ever observed for broadband traffic” on their network, with more than 193 PetaBytes of data being consumed. This compares to the previous busiest days of Thursday 9th July (192PB) and Thursday 30th June (189PB).

A spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk: “Wednesday saw the anticipated release of another hugely popular update of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, including Warzone Season 5, across a number of gaming platforms including PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. We knew this was coming, and we’ve built enough capacity in the network to cope with extraordinary peaks like this.”

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


The PC release of another major title, Horizon: Zero Dawn, which started pre-loading today and is due out tomorrow may, also have an impact for the rest of this week.

UPDATE 7th August 2020

Budget ISP TalkTalk have informed us that they also saw a 56% surge in daytime network traffic vs last week following the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season 5. At 9:45pm on Wednesday last night they recorded a network spike of 6.27Tb/s (Terabits per second), although this isn’t quite as high as the 6.71Tb/s seen during the June 2020 release of Season 4 (partly due to the new pre-load feature and the COVID-19 lockdown).

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
13 Responses
  1. Tom says:

    If / when the next GTA game comes out, these stats would be very interesting to see given digital downloads is slowly becoming the preferred means of obtaining games.

    Not forgetting that the game will no doubt be 100GB+ at a minimum at launch.

  2. Watcher says:

    Good to see our monthly broadband bills paying for capacity for people playing games.

    1. Steven says:

      Last time I checked I pay my Broadband Bill so I’ll do what I want with it…

    2. Adam says:

      And its a shame my monthly broadband bills are allowing trolls like yourself type stupid things on the comment section of news articles. But i guess neither of us can win.

    3. blueacid says:

      Yep, I pay my bill and use the internet.
      Next you’ll be aghast that I used my paid-for electricity to make a cup of tea!

      (actually, it’s 30c outside, I could understand that last one..)

    4. 125us says:

      Your taxes pay for roads you don’t drive on and schools you don’t attend. All public networks require socialisation of cost to be viable. What’s your point?

  3. Steven says:

    PC Update was 57GB

    1. Harmz says:

      Assumption here, but the 47GB in article might be warzone only, compared to your 57GB for the paid version which includes the normal multiplayer…etc

    2. Steven says:

      Makes sense, I do own the full game

  4. Gary says:

    Covid or not that’ll be a few people popping round to friends with decent connections to patch. These patches are no joke if you’re on poor connections.

    Used to have to take mine to a mates in town and have a few beers while I leeched his FTTC.

    1. Chipmunk says:

      It doesn’t help, my 900mbit was dloading it at 10mbit max 🙂

  5. buggerlugz says:

    How I look forward to more games being procedurally generated in the future!

    1. 125us says:

      They’ll more likely be hosted in the cloud and gamers will just require a connection capable of streaming video content to be able to play.

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