Network performance in the time of COVID-19. A quick approach
In these days, many Services Providers are claiming the doubling of data traffic on their networks. This is another side effect of COVID-19 epidemic and an important stress test of resilience of communication networks.
According to preliminary info provided by Ookla, the average download speed has decreased below 60Mbps (from a 70-75 Mbps before restriction to mobility) and the latency of transmission has reached 30ms and 50ms on fixed and mobile networks respectively.
Consumption of digital content has gone up manifold as people are forced to stay indoors as almost the entire country is under lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19
The increase of smart working, but mainly video content distribution due to multi-videoconference has forced some OTT like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to reduce the quality, and consequently the bandwidth needed, of VoD in order to ease pressure on telecom infrastructure.
Some Service Providers are trying to increase the capacity of their core/backbone network to Nx10 Gbps or till to 100 Gbps but, as analyzed in some cases we have directly deal with, that requires new investment in terms of devices and infrastructure and a plan of several weeks for implementation due to the situation.
Luckily, in majority of these cases, the increase of capacity has been possible with the implementation of passive multiplexing.
As shown in the picture above, a single trunk between two nodes of a core network is depicted. Regardless the network topology (typically a ring), it is possible to install two passive CWDM muxes on each end and, on the same pair of fiber or even single fiber, it is possible to increase of capacity till to 16x10Gbps (and even more using DWDM passive solution) depending on power budget.
This approach does not require new hardware (only colored transceivers for each additional link) or new network configurations (no additional OPEX).
It has a very low impact on the live traffic (a few seconds) and the cost of the whole solution is compliant with small operators’ budget.
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