Amidst the corona virus outbreak, people are taking steps to avoid social contact and practicing hygienic routines by staying at home, going out only when necessary. As public places, offices, schools and universities have shut down, people have started working from home and students have taken up online classes.
According to various sources, the usage and demand for internet networking have increased in large parts of Europe as well as globally. As more and more people are self-isolating themselves at home, streaming and online services for entertainment and work are reaching its capacity. The European Union is growing worried over the great demand on the internet network and the possible Internet breakdown.
There are fears that the breakdown of the internet can cause disruption to many workers and students learning online. Video streaming places a lot of strain on the networks, taking up a lot of data. According to a report, video accounts for over 60% of data, with Netflix accounting for under 12% of the total traffic. YouTube also accounts for another 12%.
Netflix has decided to reduce the video quality on its services to reduce the strain on the internet network providers. Lowering the picture quality would reduce the data consumption by 25%. They have also started to cut down its streaming bit rates.
Customers who have paid for ultra-high-definition 4K as part of their subscription will still avail that feature for their video streaming. An official has requested that others should switch to standard definition when HD is not necessary, to reduce the traffic.
YouTube has switched to standard definition streaming by default, reducing the video quality. This is a temporary measure to use less network capacity. Users can still manually adjust video quality.
However, internet providers have stated that their networks have enough room to handle the increasing demand of the network. So far, no adverse effects or outages have been reported.
Amazon Prime video services have also begun efforts to reduce the streaming bit rates. Facebook platform has also seen rising surges. Vodafone also reported a 50% surge in Internet traffic in European countries. Different kinds of demands on the network are seen, including 75% jump in the gaming traffic and 30% increase in VPN usage. With the rising demand in Internet services, the infrastructure might be in strain. All the streaming platforms have a responsibility to take steps to ease the demand for the smooth functioning of the internet network.