The first week of working from home en masse because of the coronavirus has led to a considerable burden on the networks of Dutch internet providers. “We saw a 25 percent increase in regular internet traffic on our network on Monday compared to other busy days,” says KPN. A day later it was even busier with the provider.
T-Mobile speaks of a continuous peak: “Where previously we usually had the peak on Sunday afternoon with Formula 1 or football, we now see that this amount of traffic goes through the network every day.” VodafoneZiggo sees a “slight increase” during the day and evening, but not yet the “huge peaks” like in a football final or a grand prix.
Despite the extra internet traffic, according to the providers, there is enough space on the networks in the Netherlands.
Netflix and YouTube
However, the European Commission is concerned about possible congestion on European networks. After consultation with Brussels, the video services Netflix and YouTube have announced that they will temporarily change the way they stream videos to European users. They now use less bandwidth.
The measure, which applies for thirty days, also applies to the Netherlands. It means that YouTube videos are shown in so-called ‘standard definition’ and no longer in HD; a user can still adjust this manually. Netflix says the change doesn’t affect the picture quality.
Not only the fixed internet is used much more, working from home also means that people have to call much more. On Monday, KPN saw an increase of nearly 80 percent in voice traffic. At T-Mobile, the increase is between 30 and 40 percent.
The important internet hub Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is also seeing an increase in traffic. “We see two effects,” said spokesman Bram Semeijn. “During the day there is more traffic because people work from home. In addition, we also see more traffic in the evenings because people stay at home. Then they crawl behind the TV or start gaming.”
At the request of the NOS, the node investigated how fast internet traffic is increasing. The company processed about 20 percent more data traffic on Wednesday, March 18, than on February 18. About a quarter of the connected networks on the AMS-IX are Dutch; the rest is European or other international traffic.
Working from home also means working together. This is done through programs such as Slack and Microsoft Teams; both parties saw the use increase. The latter program also struggled to process everything this week. Especially last Monday; then more than six hundred reports came in to allestoringen.nl.
According to Microsoft, this problem has now been resolved. Also on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday reports were received about problems with Microsoft Teams at the fault site, but less than on Monday.
The increasing internet use is not only caused by home workers, but also because people work from school from home. School system Magister also suffered from malfunctions during the first days of the week, but says that all problems have been solved since Wednesday afternoon; the capacity has been increased, among other things. The company expects growth to continue.
Squla, a platform of primary and bridge class exercise programs, advises avoiding peak hours – between 9am and 11am. “We are working day and night to keep our platform accessible to every child in this exceptional situation,” said the platform.