Telcos & Covid-19: How to Manage the Challenge

We are all now living during unprecedented times, part of a historical fabric that is redefining the telecom industry and the larger world as we know it.

Concerns about health and safety in the face of the coronavirus pandemic have seen many businesses transform from traditional operations to remote working environments.

 

Internet usage during coronavirus shutdowns

From the perspective of Microsoft, things have changed a lot because of the Covid-19 outbreak. The number of Teams users, for example, has grown by 12 million to 44 million daily users around the world.

 

All of this has brought a surge in internet usage as people utilize video conferencing and other services to stay in touch.

 

In Spain, for example, Total Telecom reports that Spain is experiencing:

  • a 40% increase in data consumption,
  • an increase in mobile phone usage, and
  • a boom in remote working tools like WhatsApp

 

In general, telecoms and infrastructure providers see that network traffic is up 15-25%.

 

Verizon reports, in the USA, a 47% increase in the use of collaboration tools, a high volume of calls on the network, and a 33% increase in call duration, which means that, in addition to video conferencing, people are calling more and staying on the phone longer.

 

According to a report from Cloudflare, network traffic related to video conferencing, streaming services, news sites, and e-commerce websites have surged, with growth in traffic from residential broadband networks.

 

 

Mobile internet traffic

However, worldwide, mobile traffic may trend downwards, with a greater number of people using home-based Wi-Fi. With time spent at home in lockdown, people will tend to rely more on broadband networks for their communications.

 

How can CSPs cope with the extra demand?

Unfortunately, there’s fear that Communications Service Providers (CSPs) may not able to keep up with demand.

In Europe, to secure internet access for all, the EU asked Netflix to reduce stream quality to enable better network traffic control and avoid overloading networks.

 

Possibly because of this supply-side bandwidth throttling by Netflix (and others such as YouTube), some telcos, such as BT, are, in the meantime, able to cope with all the additional network traffic. However, it’s really not necessary for them to rely on supply-side “mercy” and/or the involvement of governmental bodies. It’s not even really necessary to plead with end-users to “consume responsibly” on the demand-side.

 

How can Allot help to ease the burden on CSPs?

Companies, such as Allot, help to empower CSPs to act independently with tools that help them to manage their networks effectively, with a more focused approach that provides the capability for management of specific traffic rather than a “ham-fisted,” across-the-board approach to network traffic management.

 

Using artificial intelligence, network traffic management and congestion solutions from Allot also enable the automatic application of policy-driven congestion control, so network operators can maximize the delivered QoE at any given moment.

 

Regardless, telecoms are monitoring the situation closely and collaborating with other networks and content companies to maintain Quality of Service (QoS) across the network.

 

Telecom to the rescue

The telecom industry, which was, until recently, commoditized by consumers that simply expected the internet to work, has very quickly been recognized as a critical component of the success of almost every element and facet of society.

 

Now, with networks under pressure, everyone realizes their importance and the need to operate properly.

 

Social distancing and remote working mean more people than ever rely on their network provider for work and education. With such a huge increase in online traffic, how should telecom providers respond?

 

What to do now?

A tremendous amount of responsibility is now on the shoulders of the telecom industry. With that, optimal traffic management has never been more critical.

 

To cope with the crisis, some CSPs may find themselves wrestling with questions like these:

  • Is there a need to purchase new equipment to support the network during critical times?
  • Does it make more sense to focus on optimizing and controlling the existing network?
  • Is it wiser to augment existing equipment with actionable intelligence?

 

In these challenging times, ensuring your subscribers stay connected and helping businesses to keep their networks running smoothly is a top business imperative.

 

We’re here to help

Allot is offering a free 2-month unlimited DPI software license to help CSPs and enterprises to provide customers with the best connectivity possible for all their needs.

 

We’re sharing more details about this during an upcoming webinar, which will discuss how we can help you:

  • gain granular visibility into application performance and usage
  • help businesses by prioritizing work from home traffic (Zoom, Skype, Citrix, Teams, etc.),
  • help children & schools by prioritizing distance learning apps,
  • assure internet access for all subscribers during congestion, and
  • mitigate DDoS attacks to free up valuable bandwidth for critical services (up to 5-10%)

 

Looking forward

Even when the immediate threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic have subsided (and they will), networks of all types will need to keep up with growing demand. As such, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) must be prepared with the proper tools and network capacity to keep people connected and provide critical services into the foreseeable future.

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