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COVID-19 Impacts on Internet Traffic Behavior

2020.07.01

The spread of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has made devastating impacts across the world. In many countries, governments have been taking prevention measures like enforcing lockdowns, population flow control, shelter in place, etc. Schools were canceled and people were asked to Work-From-Home (WFH) to reduce the risk of cluster spreading and human-to-human transmission.

 

These prevention measures have changed how people live in many ways. For example, WFH has led to the boom of remote working and online education tools; while ‘stay-at-home economy’ – including online shopping, online gaming, and online streaming media have grown exponentially. All of these actions and events are expected to lead to huge growth and change in network traffic data.

 

To study COVID-19’s impacts on internet traffic behavior, Genie Networks observed the long-term traffic trend of several Tier-1 service providers in the APAC from 2019 to 2020. The study was targeted among the networks of these providers and included comparative analysis on their network traffic behavior throughout different time periods. After multiple data analyses, the very same results were observed across several networks under different network scales and types.

 

Total Traffic Changes

Take one of the several Tier-1 service providers for example, while a steady traffic growth rate is usually witnessed for a long-term trend, an eye-catching increase is observed starting from late January 2020. This is around the same time when countries started imposing restriction measures to stop the spread of the pandemic.

 

 

The overall internet traffic from January to May 2020 increased by a stunning 49% compared to the previous year, while Q1 2020 encountered an increase of 28% compared with the previous quarter.

 

Traffic Content Changes

Another analysis was conducted on the Over-The-Top (OTT) service traffic of these service providers. It comes as little surprise that an obvious increase in OTT traffic growth is observed, also around the same time when countries started imposing restriction measures. The traffic growth reached its peak in April then gradually slowed down in May, yet remaining at a relatively high level compared to 2019.

 

 

 

From January to May 2020, the OTT service traffic growth increased by an astonishing 95% YoY, while reaching a 52% increase for Q1 2020 compared with the previous quarter.

 

Along with the overall internet traffic growth, the amount of cyber-attacks has grown significantly. According to the study, from the end of January to May 2020, the amount of detected DDoS attacks every month has been larger than before the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

The unexpected global pandemic not only boosted remote working and the stay-at-home-economy, but also opened the door for more possibilities of cyber security breaches. The pandemic showcased the crucial role that network infrastructure plays during a major catastrophic event, which also raised awareness on the importance of network resource planning and network security for enterprises and service providers.

 

Throughout the years, Genie Networks has been constantly working on the research and development of network traffic analysis and DDoS protection. Being a globally proven and trusted provider for these solutions, Genie Networks is all set to assist more customers combat the network challenges ahead in the age of pandemic and 5G technology.

 

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