Sunday, 19 February 2012

World Cup Latest: England Outplayed by Broadband

ENGLAND might well be out of the world cup but at the end of the day the world still goes round. Of course, the big question now is: how has the first big sporting event to hit broadband since the advent of iPlayer affected our networks?

The increased demand for bandwidth during big games, caused by huge numbers of people streaming matches via iPlayer and the like, typically pushes up response times and the number of dropped connections.

The usual outcome is that streams start buffering, much to the general annoyance of those watching.

However, one positive that has come out of England's early bath from the World Cup is that it has shown us that the country's broadband network can cope pretty well with the demand for traffic.

A Good Performance?

In general, our broadband network performed admirably and continues to do so, unlike some national teams we could mention.

It's not been a perfect performance, though, as our insatiable appetite for national disappointment increased traffic massively during England matches.

It is expected to peak again at the weekend during the World Cup final.

Data from latency watchers thinkbroadband clearly shows that during England's match with Slovenia a week ago demand for bandwidth and the negative side-effects shot up.

The number of lost packets rose and latency (ping times) increased, likely to have caused an increase in the number of errors received and the inevitable 'buffering' of live streams.

Further info from speed-obsessed Be Broadband gives us an insight into the performance of individual providers.

The disparity in the level of performance achieved by the various broadband providers shows that some were up there with Ashley Cole whilst others had a bit of a Rooney and couldn't pull their best game out of the bag.

Star Players

TalkTalk, Sky, Virgin Media and Be all saw increased traffic but without adverse effect whereas BT and Demon suffered with the worst congestion pushing average response times above 55ms during the Slovenia game - typical response times are around 20ms.

Be has taken the chance to push its 'Campaign to Banish Buffering' which is essentially a marketing move to get people onto faster and faster connections.

Interestingly, demand during the Germany game was not so high but this likely to be because it was played on a Sunday when most people can watch it on the television rather than have to sneakily watch it at work via iPlayer.

Of course, it could also have something to do with the fact we were thumped 4-1.

Finally, here's a man from Plusnet who looks uncannily unlike Jeremy Clarkson describing how much their iplayer traffic increased over the Slovenia match.


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