Internet Traffic Records Could Be Broken This Week Thanks To Apple, NFL, Sony, Xbox, EA and Others

Thanks to so many large scale live events and large file downloads taking place this week, it’s going to be a huge week of traffic on the Internet with content delivery networks and last mile providers preparing for what’s to come. Tomorrow in particular will be a big day on the net with so many things taking place all on the same day. Apple product announcements always make for a busy day on the web and while iOS 8 won’t be available for download tomorrow, here is a list of all the other events taking place tomorrow, or this week.

  • Monday Night Football (WatchESPN)
  • Apple’s Product Announcement (Tuesday)
  • Microsoft Security Patches (Tuesday)
  • NFL Now/Game Rewind Highlights (Tuesday is busiest day for NFL videos)
  • Yahoo! Aerosmith Concert (Tuesday)
  • Bungie’s Release Of Destiny Game (Tuesday)
  • EA Sports Fifa 15 Game Beta (Tuesday)
  • EA Sports NHL 15 Game (Tuesday)
  • League Of Legends NA/Europe Seed Matches (Tuesday)
  • Xbox Free Game Releases (including Halo: Reach)
  • Sony PS4 White Destiny Bundle (Tuesday)
  • New York Fashion Week Live (Monday-Thursday)
  • Apple’s iOS 8 Download (Probably Thursday)
  • President’s ISIS Speech (Wednesday)

Delivering video over the Internet at the same scale and quality that you do over a cable network isn’t possible. The Internet is not a cable network and if you think otherwise, you will be proven wrong this week. We’re going to see long download times, more buffering of streams, more QoS issues and ISPs that will take steps to deal with the traffic, knowing it will have a negative impact on the user experience. When iOS 8 comes out, some last mile providers are going to struggle and some will rate limit their network connections, as we saw the last time Apple’s iOS download was available. For some ISPs, iOS 7 downloads took up 40% of their traffic. Also, all other content providers are going to have to compete with this traffic and many I spoke to about it are keeping an eye on their quality guarantees and SLAs with their CDNs this week.

As for which CDNs are delivering all this content, I’ll be doing a lot of traceroutes this week, but Akamai, Limelight and Level 3 are all in the mix. I know Akamai will see the most web traffic from news sites covering Apple’s product announcements. Last time I looked, Microsoft’s security patches were being delivered by Akamai, Limelight and Level 3. Yahoo’s concert is being done by Akamai. Level 3 and others do the Xbox releases, Limelight was doing a lot of Sony downloads last I checked and when iOS 8 is available, I expect a lot of it to be delivered by Apple themselves, with Akamai and maybe also Level 3. Many of these events, both live and downloads, push more than 1Tbps via a single CDN, let alone those that use dual vendors, so it’s going to be a very busy week on the web for CDNs.

For all the talk of paid interconnects being such a bad idea, or causing great harm to the Internet, none of what is going to take place this week would be possible if these paid connections between CDNs and ISPs were not in place. So complain all you want, but it’s why the Internet works the way it does and why hopefully, all will go smoothly this week.

I will be collecting as many traceroutes as I can from multiple regions during all of these events, so if you can do a traceroute from your location, please send it to me at

  • Alice Bartram

    HI Dan – you are right – quite a week! From Fashion Week to NFL, everyone will be grabbing something. Here at PeerApp, we look forward to your followups on Internet performance this week. We will also we watching our customers with interest to see if they surpass their impressive performance when iOS 7 came out. We were proud that operators/ISPs with PeerApp UltraBand systems delivered over 10 million iOS 7 updates –
    representing approximately 8 petabytes of data traffic offloaded from
    the Internet – in the first 24 hours after the update. Operators with
    UltraBand delivered over 99% of the updates from cache, virtually
    eliminating the traffic spikes within their networks.

  • CC

    and 9/9 9am~10:30am Intel IDF keynote livestream … actually it started jagging around 10am (maybe due to apple event)

  • CC

    also TechCrunch Disrupt 9/8~9/10 all livestreaming too