In the past few days, the data volume in the telecom networks had increased by 40 percent, cell phone calls skyrocketed by 50 percent, and mobile data usage by a quarter. Whatsapp news has quintupled.
In Germany, however, the situation is relaxed. All German network operators gave the all-clear on a Handelsblatt survey. So far, there has been no sudden increase in data usage, representatives of Deutsche Telekom said Vodafone and Telefónica on request.
A spokesman for the Deutsche Telekom said: “We already activated our emergency and pandemic plans in January and are prepared as best we can.” The main goal is to ensure the operation of the infrastructure. So far, there has been no particular load on the network.
“We are currently not seeing any significant increase in data traffic,” said the Telekom spokesman. The network operators Vodafone and Telefónica did not initially register a strong increase in data usage in Germany on Monday.
The president of the IT association Bitkom, Achim Berg, also sees broadband internet networks in Germany armed for increased data traffic. The relocation of many professional and leisure activities to one’s own home as a result of the corona crisis has resulted in “growing demands on the networks,” Berg told Handelsblatt. “This leads to larger amounts of data in the networks, but not necessarily to new peak loads, which usually appear in the evening after the end of normal working hours.” So far, “no serious impairments are known in Germany and they are not expected”. However, it is important to carefully monitor further developments.
Huge amounts of data – every day
The world’s largest internet hub is located in Frankfurt. The German Commercial Internet Exchange, abbreviated DE-CIX, handles an important part of the European data connections. A world record was registered there a few days ago. For the first time, data throughput of more than 9 terabits per second was processed in Frankfurt.
However, the outbreak of the corona virus and increasing access to news offers are only one explanation for this, said a DE-CIX spokesman. In addition, the launch of new online games and updates for that AppleOperating system iOS powered the data volume. Bottlenecks are not expected.
“Even if all companies in Europe would only operate their home office and the European Football Championship would also be broadcast, the DE-CIX can provide the necessary bandwidth for smooth interconnection,” said the spokesman.
The eco association of the German Internet industry is currently seeing an increase in data traffic. This is currently around 50 percent of the usual peak time in the evening between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., the association’s deputy chairman, Klaus Landefeld, told Handelsblatt. Although that is more than usual, about 25 to 30 percent of evening traffic would be normal. “However, this does not bring the network to its load limit, since it is distributed over the whole day and mainly affects the otherwise lower traffic times during the day.”
The “jerky” connections that employers may now perceive more in the home office were not due to the fact that the network was overloaded, says Landefeld. “Rather, the problem here is rather in the poorly dimensioned connections of the employers, ie the companies who simply failed to set up their infrastructure in such a way that it can be scaled in an emergency.” The company often retaliates here invest little in their data infrastructure, although more powerful bandwidths and connections would be available. “Companies that have already moved their data traffic to the cloud now have an advantage here.”
According to Bitkom President Berg, video streaming accounts for the largest share of the peak loads in the networks. “The peak loads can be attributed to the fact that users stream their favorite series in the evening,” said the Bitkom President. “The networks are designed for this and they can handle it.” Video streaming therefore accounts for about 60 percent of all data traffic. The requirements of home office and e-learning are comparatively low, says Berg. “Emails and collaboration tools only require very small bandwidths.” Even video conferences with “comparatively low speeds between 2 and 8 megabits per second (Mbit / s) are” easily possible “.
Full networks in Spain
A special situation is the closure of schools and many day care centers. Since Monday, a number of employees have had to reorganize their children’s care – this also affects the operators of the telecommunications networks.
“In view of the current developments regarding the closure of schools and daycare centers, we have recommended that all colleagues – especially those with children of daycare or school age – work in the home office as far as possible for the continuation of the operative business”, said a Telefónica spokesman.
In Spain, on the other hand, the government has decided on further measures. There has been a curfew since Sunday, people are only allowed to leave their homes to buy groceries or go to work. Monday is the first working day of the lock, when many shopkeepers have to stay at home and all schools and universities across the country are closed.
It is the definitive stress test for the Spanish networks. Industry leader Telefónica wants to take stock in the evening. So far there do not seem to be any major disruptions in the network.
As a precaution, the network operators have, among other things, asked their customers to use the landline for calls; no large files, but rather to send links; and to avoid mass emails.
Spain has one of the best broadband networks in Europe. There are more fast fiber optic lines there than in Germany, Italy, France and Great Britain combined. The network operators’ call for caution suggests that there could still be bottlenecks.
This is not feared by the Landefeld Eco Association Vice President for Germany. “If the general data traffic, for example due to a curfew, as is currently practiced in Italy and Spain, also increases in Germany, load limits, which primarily result from increased video streaming, would probably be due to an adjustment of the streaming qualities by the Cushioned provider, ”he said. This is already the case today, for example, with peaks during the World Cup.
More: The perfect bait – cyber criminals use the corona panic.