The COVID-19 Challenges the Spanish Networks

During the coronavirus crisis, the IP networks traffic has increased by 40% in Spain. Calls over mobile networks and data have grown by 50% and 25% respectively. Also, the traffic of messaging services, such as WhatsApp, has increased X5. 

Spain has one of the best telecommunication networks in Europe. According to the DESI (the Digital Economy and Society Index), 88% of Spanish households have access to fast broadband networks. It also excels in mobile connectivity, according to the Annual Internet Report of Cisco, Spain currently has the highest average speed of 4G in Western Europe. 

That is why despite the telecommuting and the online teaching measures implemented, and hence the large increase in traffic, the network has remained stable. However, even if the service is stable, the speed at home may be affected. Service providers are continuously monitoring their infrastructure to plan the proper networks operation during this increased demand period. 

On the other hand, the peak of the highest growth of the Internet in Spain occurred from 15 March onwards, with an increase of 23%, according to data from Madrid Internet Exchange

The video is one of the main responsible of this increase, since it already accounts for 70% of Internet traffic in Spain, and in 2022 it will account for 80%. The video call and collaboration tool Webex  – which Cisco is offering for free to individuals, companies, entities such as schools and other public services- has doubled their traffic in the first 15 days of March, with 3.2 million video-calls (of three or more people) on a global scale on 16 March alone. 

To respond to this increased demand and offer the service, most companies that provide entertainment services in streaming are adjusting the quality of its videos. Netflix, with 51 million users in Europe, has agreed with the EU lower the speed of content delivery by 25%, to help reduce its traffic on European networks. 

The contents of upload data are also responsible for the timely slowdown of networks, including the ‘cloud gaming’ with multiplayer connections, IP camera videos and the storage and transmission of personal files in the cloud. 

Companies are doing as much as possible, according to a jointly published statement, to increase network capacity, but warn that these measures are not effective immediately. For this reason they ask for a rational and responsible use of the network. In this regard, they have launched a number of recommendations

  • When making calls, use the landline telephone instead of a mobile phone, when possible. 
  • Download only those necessary documents or files. If you can wait, it’d be better to download at night or during “off-peak hours” with less traffic turnout (between 2pm and 4pm and between 8pm and 8am). 
  • Avoid sending heavy files. It is best to send links or routes to where they are stored (applications like WeTransfer allow it). 
  • Avoid mass emails. 
  • Use  collaboration tools such as Teams or Slack. It is better to use text chats than video chats. 

Optimize the traffic for the necessary only: email, telecommuting, conferences, school and education applications, access to information. Use leisure tools, video games, streaming, live videos… during the off-peak hours. 

Sources:Computer World 

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