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Olympic Diary: Excellent Planning Results in Quality Streaming
Contrary to what some scare-mongers predicted, the 2012 Olympic Games have not yet melted the internet.

A column on ZDNet last week suggested that the 2012 Summer Olympics 'might melt the internet.' For that writer, and anyone concerned about all that melting, here's some interesting news.

Its now 7:30 AM on the morning after the London 2012 XXX Olympics have opened (yes XXX = 30 in Latin numerals) and after a brief on-routine wake up, my kids have fallen back to sleep after a late night of festivities -- and so has the misses.

So its time for a quick scour over all the traffic monitors I can hustle up to see what the impact on the net was given the live coverage of the ‘most connected Olympics ever.'

And my first impression is two-fold:

  • There is no noticeable impact (!)
  • This indicates excellent planning by the content providers (principally the BBC) and the CDNs

Here's the data I have mustered (and be aware that some is still being analysed:

This is the London Internet eXchange (LINX) traffic for the week. As you can see there is no noticeable increase in traffic. In fact, the traffic looks slightly down on the rest of the week.

Olympic Diary 1

Here are a couple of graphs from Google. First, a graph for all products. It looks to me like there is, if anything, a significant dip while folks stopped surfing and instead watched broadcast.

Olympic Diary 2

Second, a graph showing YouTube's traffic, which largely mirrors the ‘all products' graph above.

Olympic Diary 3

Here's a global traffic index from Internet Traffic Report, which does show a trend upwards, but no obvious spike last night.

Olympic Diary 4

And finally, this other graphic showing response time to a typical U.K. ISP from the Internet Traffic Reports demonstrates an interesting ‘flat space' during the build up to the event and then a couple of ‘well within normal' spikes of increased latency during the event.

Olympic Diary 5

After a little more searching I haven't been able to quickly find any other useful public data, so I sent a note to the guys at the BBC who are coordinating delivery.

Over the weekend I got some replies: The BBC's corporate communications teams haven't okayed a release of any figures yet, but I have been given word that I will be given stats as soon as any become available. The line so far is that it 'has been a good start with some healthy stats and high quality streaming,' but we will just have to wait to get anything more quantitative than that.

My impression is that a combination of time-delay playback globally coupled with excellent planning domestically, as well as widespread, easily accessible broadcast coverage left the networks running absolutely as normal despite the increased demand.

My guess is that at this stage at least the pirate content is showing little impact because of the large volume of free legal content, and the legal content has been provisioned for well.

I'll provide further updates as I get them.

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