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The Akamai Blog

Working Together to Manage Global Internet Traffic Increases

As businesses and consumers around the world adjust their routines amid the various COVID-19 restrictions, the internet is being used at a scale that the world has never experienced. In addition to millions of people who are now working from home, students all over the world are going online to continue their studies, governments are increasingly leveraging the internet to communicate with their citizens, vast amounts of commerce have moved online, houses of worship are streaming their services to keep their communities connected, and entertainers are engaging with their audiences online to provide an escape from the isolation many people and families are starting to feel.

This increased usage is causing concern about whether the internet will be able to continue handling the ever-increasing amounts of traffic. As a result, some major regulators, carriers, and content providers are taking steps to reduce load during peak traffic times in an effort to avert online gridlock.  For example, European regulators have asked telecom providers and streaming platforms to switch to standard definition video during periods of peak demand.

As the world's largest content delivery network, we have been working closely with our customers and carrier partners to maintain continuity for their businesses. Akamai's intelligent edge network architecture is inherently designed to mitigate and minimize network congestion, and because we have deployed our infrastructure deep into carrier networks, we can help those networks avoid overload by diverting traffic away from areas experiencing high levels of congestion. 

Akamai is also working with leading distributors of software, particularly for the gaming industry, including Microsoft and Sony, to help manage congestion during peak usage periods. This is very important for gaming software downloads which account for large amounts of internet traffic when an update is released -- a software update for a modern game generates an amount of traffic roughly equal to 30,000 web pages.

"Playing video games enables people all over the world to connect with friends and family and enjoy much needed entertainment during these uncertain times. Our goal is to partner with other leaders in the industry to help ensure gamers are able to enjoy engaging experiences," said Jim Ryan, President and CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment.

"As people look to gaming for play and social connection, we're seeing record engagement across Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Live, and Mixer. We're actively monitoring usage and making temporary adjustments as needed to ensure the smoothest possible experience for our gamers. We appreciate the collaboration with partners like Akamai to deliver the joy of games in these unprecedented times," said Dave McCarthy, Corporate Vice President, Xbox Product Services.

In regions where demand is creating bottlenecks for customers, we will be reducing gaming software downloads at peak times, completing the downloads at the normal fast speeds late at night. This approach will help ensure every internet user and consumer continues to have the high-quality experience they expect across all of their internet services, and that gamers will still get the download they want, though it may take longer than usual during peak usage times. Even more importantly, this will help ensure healthcare workers and first responders working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19 have continual access to the vital digital services they need.

It's important to note that Akamai fully expects to maintain the integrity and reliability of website and mobile application delivery, as well as security services, for all of our customers during this time. In particular, Akamai customers across sectors such as government, healthcare, financial services, commerce, manufacturing, and business services should not experience any change in the performance of their services. 

As the world responds to the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue working with governments, network operators and our customers to minimize stress on the system. At the same time, we will do our best to make sure that everyone who is relying on the internet for their work, studies, news, and entertainment continues to have a high-quality, positive experience.