Bandwidth Use Doubles During World Cup

(Ping! Zine) – Ipswitch, Inc.’s Network Management Division, developer of the WhatsUp Gold suite of innovative IT management solutions, today released the initial results from its World Cup Network Traffic Calculator, a unique tool that is empowering IT managers to predict and plan for the surge in non-work Internet traffic in the workplace resulting from online streaming of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ soccer tournament, which started last week and runs through July 11th, expected to be the most viewed soccer tournament in sporting history.

Over the past two weeks, WhatsUp Gold has collected more than 1,000 responses related to average bandwidth use and the predicted increase during the 30 days of the tournament in network traffic directly related to the World Cup. Key findings from the site include:

– Bandwidth use is expected to increase by 38.85% in participating World Cup nations, to 86.89% during matches
– In Europe the figure is expected to double, from 40.25% current average bandwidth use, to 78.67% during key match times
– In the UK, despite the culture for some businesses to close during England matches, bandwidth use is still expected to increase by 30.79% to 71.85% of total capacity
– In host nation South Africa, IT managers are bracing themselves for network bandwidth to be completely maxed out to 100%, from a base average of 58% during a typical working day
– Despite not being typically thought of as a soccer-watching nation, the U.S. is somewhat surprisingly expecting bandwidth use to rise to more than 80% during some key matches

“There is a growing feeling that this year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa could be the most exciting yet, but the impact on businesses could be huge, as shown by the results of our survey,” said Ennio Carboni, president, Ipswitch Inc.’s Network Management Division. “Your business depends on your network for successful operation and users making tapping into video streaming services can put a considerable strain on companies’ networks, resulting in bandwidth chokes and even outages, in addition to exposing them to security threats,” Carboni said.

The 2010 World Cup will be the first in the history of the tournament where every game will be streamed online live, as well as being the first World Cup to offer high definition coverage of the tournament. In the U.S., matters are further complicated by the majority of games taking place during normal office working hours. As a result, service providers and employers are bracing themselves for potential network disruption and pressure on Internet connectivity as employees turn to streaming video as a way to keep tabs on the sporting action.

The precedent for online streaming of major sporting events was set with the 2008 Olympic Games. U.S. broadcaster NBC opted to concentrate its live coverage online due to time zone constraints. As a result, served up more than 1.2 billion pages and 72 million video streams during the 2008 Summer Games**, more than doubling the combined traffic to its site during the 2004 Summer Games in Athens and the 2006 Winter Games in Turin. Traffic to peaked each day around noon as office workers checked in during the lunch hour.

While service providers struggle to maintain adequate access for all their customers, organizations face multiple problems during these artificial demand peaks within the LAN such as constrained WAN connectivity and heightened security risks created by users venturing to untrusted and unknown sites in search of video content not available from official broadcast streams.
During the world cup, IT managers are invited to contrast their actual findings to those that were predicted at: