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Data traffic hits new peak once a Fortnite

Chorus says traffic on its UFB network reached a record high on Thursday evening. It says data traffic peaked at 3.15Tbps.

This was at around 8pm. Traffic always peaks in the evening when people stream television services like Netflix.

Yet that wasn’t the reason for Thurday’s surge. That was when developers released the most recent version of Fortnite, the popular online game.

Once a fortnite

Chorus says the Fortnite update beat the previous network peak. That was earlier in the month when there was an update to the Call of Duty game. A pattern is emerging with big game downloads.

The network coped with the load without congestion. We can’t take this for granted.

Earlier in the year traffic surged when New Zealand first went into lockdown. This was a heady mix of people working from home during the day and using video conferencing. They then stayed in at night and streamed movies or TV shows.

Volume all the way up to 11

In March traffic hit 2.8 Tbps. At the time Chorus pointed out this was well within its theoretical maximum capacity of 3.5 Tbps.

Thursday’s peak came close to this level. Chorus says today’s network capacity is around 4.5 Tbps.

New Zealand got lucky when the pandemic triggered a surge in data demand. Only months earlier telcos upgraded networks to cope with anticipated Rugby World Cup demand.

We’re not so lucky when it comes to blockbuster game downloads. Games software companies time worldwide launches to co-incide with international demand lulls. That happens to be New Zealand’s demand peak. So we push our networks to the limit.

Away from games and streaming, Auckland’s level 3 lockdown saw higher daytime traffic. Although it is up on recent weeks, it hasn’t returned to the levels seen during the first lockdown.

Chorus says traffic was at 1.49 Tbps at noon on Friday. That’s around 40 percent above the level earlier in the month when there were no lockdowns. The company says Auckland traffic was up 69 percent, the rest of the country was up only eight percent.

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