Monday, November 18, 2013

Plusnet: Traffic Management/DPI is for your Own Viewing Pleasure!

Martyn Hudson explains in Plusnet's blog how the UK ISP deals with major events generating spikes in bandwidth demand for several hours "Red Bull Stratos" (8M people watching live) or two weeks during the London 2012 Olympics games [see "Sandvine and Procera Analyze the Olympics Games" - here].

The games "saw Internet usage skyrocket – no more so than from business users. As we can see from the graph below, business use, depicted by the darker line, more than doubled across several days – no doubt as workers sneakily tuned into Olympics coverage whilst at their desks throughout the working week. Traffic from business use returned to a low level from the 3rd, which was incidentally the first weekend".

"So how does Plusnet cope with all this demand? - We know that people using our broadband, whether at work or at home, want to be able to watch big events particularly if it is once in a lifetime, such as the London Olympics was. In the case of events like the Olympics we have to consider not only the normal every day demand and the extra traffic from people watching the event but also increased usage from people working from home who didn’t want to travel. In order to ensure that everyday browsing, streaming and gaming continues to work as normal and everyone gets a good experience on the event traffic and their work VPNs Plusnet uses traffic prioritisation. 

This traffic prioritisation ensures that interactive and real time traffic will take priority over less time critical traffic, like file downloads, so that where one person in a household is watching the football game they don’t see any buffering because someone else is downloading the latest software updates for their phone at the same time". 

Nevertheless, Plusnet deploys a traffic management policy is done "at busy times" - probably not only just during global event, such as the Olympics or the Royal wedding. Their support web page (here) explains it:

See "Internet usage around big events" - here.

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