Monday, October 12, 2009

Ukraine vs England – the ISP view

This weekend’s Ukraine vs England game was a landmark as (apparently) the biggest pay per view event on the web in the UK so far, and as I mentioned in my other blog post it seemed to be a good customer experience to me as an end web user.

As an ISP, we had a very strong virtual team working across all of last week to ensure that we had no negative customer impact as a result of extra demand for the network, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve not experienced any issues due to the hard work everyone has done.

We made some changes to optimise traffic management (for both our cable and National [DSL] customers) and prepared our contact centres for any enquiries, as well as having much contingency planning in case should any negative impacts occur.

So what were the impacts?

On our edge network for cable (the bit that customers connect to before the traffic traverses the huge routers that link our network to the outside world), we saw a 9.9% jump in demand in the 2 hour period from 1700 to 1900, when there was most interest in the match:
Comparative edge network downstream network traffic, 3/10 vs 10/10 (scale removed as commercially sensitive)

As you can see, things were busy during the time of the match, but only towards the levels of the normal peak on a Saturday afternoon – so, despite a change to the typical usage pattern for a Saturday the network coped well. The National service also did not experience any problems.

This is also reflected in the enquiries to our technical support team, who didn’t experience any increase in problems reported from customers (although we did have additional resource mobilised just in case) and actually saw lower call volumes than expected during the match – no doubt with people watching the game!

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