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The Lockdown Effect: Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Internet Traffic

Feldmann, Anja and Gasser, Oliver and Lichtblau, Franziska and Pujol, Enric and Poese, Ingmar and Dietzel, Christoph and Wagner, Daniel and Wichtlhuber, Matthias and Tapiador, Juan and Vallina-Rodriguez, Narseo and Hohlfeld, Oliver and Smaragdakis, Georgios (2020) The Lockdown Effect: Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Internet Traffic. In: The 20th ACM Internet Measurement Conference (ACM IMC 2020), 27-29 October 2020, Virtual event.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments imposed lock-downs that forced hundreds of millions of citizens to stay at home. The implementation of confinement measures increased Internet traffic demands of residential users, in particular, for remote working, entertainment, commerce, and education, which, as a result, caused traffic shifts in the Internet core. In this paper, using data from a diverse set of vantage points (one ISP, three IXPs, and one metropolitan educational network), we examine the effect of these lockdowns on traffic shifts. We find that the traffic volume increased by 15-20% almost within a week---while overall still modest, this constitutes a large increase within this short time period. However, despite this surge, we observe that the Internet infrastructure is able to handle the new volume, as most traffic shifts occur outside of traditional peak hours. When looking directly at the traffic sources, it turns out that, while hypergiants still contribute a significant fraction of traffic, we see (1) a higher increase in traffic of non-hypergiants, and (2) traffic increases in applications that people use when at home, such as Web conferencing, VPN, and gaming. While many networks see increased traffic demands, in particular, those providing services to residential users, academic networks experience major overall decreases. Yet, in these networks, we can observe substantial increases when considering applications associated to remote working and lecturing.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Papers (Paper)
Depositing User: Alvaro Feal
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2020 10:52
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2020 09:46

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