Originally posted to DE-CIX

By Dr. Christoph Dietzel, Global Head of Products & Research at DE-CIX

The role of the network of subnetworks, once established for research purposes and now known as the Internet, has evolved within a few decades into an omnipresent communication and commercial ecosystem. At the end of 2018, more than 50% of the world’s population, 3.9 billion people from all countries of the world, were using the Internet – and the trend is growing. According to a Cisco1 forecast, by 2023 there will be 29.3 billion devices worldwide connected to the Internet (or 3.6 devices for every person on the planet), which will send and receive a total of 1,209 terabits per second (Tbps) of Internet traffic at peak times – the equivalent of about 48 million parallel Netflix 4K streams. According to these estimates, the data traffic of the future will therefore assume enormous proportions.

COVID-19 is changing the use of the Internet – is the Internet reaching its limits?

The major role the Internet now plays in our society is something we are becoming increasingly aware of – especially these days, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Overnight, people were sent to work from home. We started using the Internet to stay in touch with friends and colleagues via video telephony. Small clubs that had previously only had a website began to use streaming to broadcast training sessions, and apart from that, the Internet is simply a source of entertainment in the form of online computer games or video streaming. As a result of these changes, a significant increase in data traffic has been recorded at various observation points on the Internet in recent weeks. At the world’s largest Internet Exchange in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the Internet traffic transmitted at peak times has grown by more than 10% to 9.2 Terabits per second, at smaller Internet Exchanges (measured according to data throughput), such as DE-CIX Dusseldorf, traffic has even grown by more than 20%. In particular, the data traffic for services that are needed for working from home, such as Skype or Zoom, has increased in some cases by up to 100%. Online and cloud gaming traffic has increased by 50%.

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