Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: How it affected traffic

It was truly surreal watching the TV news last night to see the news about the tragic death of Michael Jackson, and there's been a few stories today about the impact of the news on Internet traffic, as reported by Sky News and the BBC.

There's also a story at The Telegraph that we at Virgin Media contributed to, as we definitely saw a rise in traffic after about 11PM but it was well within the fluctuations we capacity plan for.

On our core network (that's everything IP beyond the Cable Modem Termination Systems - the devices our cable customers' cable modems), we experienced a 10.8% growth in traffic last night.

Having a look at one of our network graphs (for transit traffic), you can see how traffic continued to grow until midnight whereas on a normal evening (such as the one before) the traffic is tailing off in the late evening:

Traffic to popular news sites was even more marked in its growth - in the case of the BBC we saw a 27% growth in traffic over our private peer (direct connection between us and the BBC):
[In the case of both graphs click on the image for a larger version - traffic numbers have been removed as this is commercially sensitive]

We didn't experience any interruption to service though. As is often the case when stories of a large magnitude break the bottleneck was more at the other end of the connection with various websites experiencing downtime under the weight of demand for news rather than the ISP networks being affected.