Over the last few months, we have seen have COVID-19 has changed the way we learn, work, live, and conduct business.
The majority of corporate employees began to work remotely in home offices, while students conducted classroom work online, doctor's visits are now over tele-visit, and happy hours have moved to Zoom chats. As more of us continue to be home, the demand for streaming services and access has begun to increase as well. More than ever we are watching Netflix, Hulu, Facetiming, and watching monumental family moments like weddings and graduations via videos.
Many essential organizations and businesses continue operations and relying more heavily on 24/7 access for operations and continued efforts. Due to the drastic changes, COVID-19 moved more processes to our networks very quickly. Instead of being connected to servers on location, many are accessing businesses or corporate resources via VPN, cloud, or virtual applications. Although there spikes during holidays or sporting events, there has never been such a large increase in internet usage that has lasted for so long.
This crisis has reinforced the importance of having a reliable data center and fast performing networks. When using social media, paying a bill, joining a Zoom meeting, both of these are involved.
According to the NCTA (the National Cable & Telecommunications Association) says that among its members- including Cox, Comcast, and Mediacom- the following metrics have been reported:
- Since March 1, national downstream peak growth is up 8.4%
- Since March 1, national upstream peak growth is up 23.11%
- Wi-Fi data traffic & Wi-Fi calling are increasing compared to mobile; networks are supporting more Wi-Fi connected devices
Some of the most interesting statistics show that VoIP and videoconferencing usage are up 210% to 285%, VPN traffic is also up from 30% to 40%. Companies like Comcast stated they have experienced a 32% increase in upstream traffic and an 11% increase in downstream traffic since March 1.
Usually, when data is needed, companies rely on a data center's central network server. When the data is processed, it then moves to devices at the network edge like mobile devices or laptops. This approach can strain bandwidth from getting data from one place to another. Just by transferring data- while the network is handling lots of other data- can slow applications down. On the other hand, when the data process happens closer to the source (closer to the device that is wants/needs it) the process happens much quicker. Processing data at the edge of the networking reduces the distance that the data has to travel, boosts the overall performance, and lessens the bandwidth usage.
With the initial changes that have taken place over the last few months, it has brought to light our dependence on networks, data center and finding ways to move data closer to the edge of the network to reduce future latency.
The overall performance of the data center comes down to the cabling infrastructure- cables and connectivity- and how its maximized to ensure the desired up time. This requires single-mode fiber, multimode fiber cable as well as Category 6A solutions to increase the organization's overall bandwidth. Outdated cabling infrastructure will become more noticeable through network slowdowns and dropped connections as our reliance on fast connectivity begins to increase.
Through the recent challenge months, it has become clear that a reliable, high-performing infrastructure is needed to keep people connected to data and one another. Proper performing data connections are vital to remote working, online learning, healthcare systems, and much more.
West Penn Wire has a variety of fiber and pre-terminated fiber assemblies as well as Category 6A solutions that allow data centers and networks to create reliable and high-performing connections.