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更新时间:2020-3-30 8:55:38 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名 浏览:

Surging Traffic Is Slowing Down Our Internet

WASHINGTON — In mid-February, when the virus hit Italy, Germany and Spain, internet speeds in those countries began to deteriorate.


And last week, as a wave of stay-at-home orders rolled out across the United States, the average time it took to download videos, emails and documents increased as broadband speeds declined 4.9 percent from the previous week, according to Ookla, a broadband speed testing service. Median download speeds dropped 38 percent in San Jose, Calif., and 24 percent in New York, according to Broadband Now, a consumer broadband research site.

然后是上周,据宽带速度测试服务公司Ookla的数据,随着居家令席卷美国,下载视频、邮件和文件的平均时间变长,宽带速度较上周降低4.9%。根据消费者宽带研究网站Broadband Now的数据,加州圣何塞的下载速度中位数下降了38%,纽约下降了24%。

Quarantines around the world have made people more reliant on the internet to communicate, work, learn and stay entertained. But as the use of YouTube, Netflix, Zoom videoconferencing, Facebook calls and videogaming has surged to new highs, the stress on internet infrastructure is starting to show in Europe and the United States — and the traffic is probably far from its peak.


“This is totally unprecedented,” said Thierry Breton, a European Union commissioner who oversees digital policy and was a chief executive of France Télécom. “We have to be proactive.”

“这完全是前所未有的,”负责数字政策的欧盟专员、前法国电信(France Telecom)首席执行官蒂埃里·布雷顿(Thierry Breton)说。“我们必须积极行动。”

To head off problems, European regulators like Mr. Breton have pushed streaming companies such as Netflix and YouTube to reduce the size of their video files so they don’t take up as much bandwidth. In the United States, regulators have given wireless carriers access to more spectrum to bolster the capacity of their networks.


Some tech companies have responded to the call to ease internet traffic. YouTube, which is owned by Google, said this week that it would reduce the quality of its videos from high to standard definition across the globe. Disney delayed the start of its Disney Plus streaming service in France by two weeks, and Microsoft’s Xbox asked gaming companies to introduce online updates and new releases only at certain times to prevent network congestion.


“We really don’t know how long we’re going to be in this mode for,” Dave Temkin, Netflix’s vice president of network and systems infrastructure, said in a webinar on Wednesday on how the coronavirus could affect internet infrastructure.

“我们真的不知道这种模式会持续多久,”Netflix负责网络与系统基础设施的副总裁戴夫·特金(Dave Temkin)在周三的一次网络研讨会上说。

Internet service providers like Comcast, Vodafone, Verizon and Telefónica have been building out their networks for years to account for increasing demand. But company officials said they had never seen such a steep, sudden surge. Growth that the industry had expected to take a year is happening over days, said Enrique Blanco, the chief technology officer at Telefónica, a Spanish telecommunications company.

多年来,康卡斯特(Comcast)、沃达丰(Vodafone)、威瑞森(Verizon)和西班牙电信(Telefonica)等互联网服务提供商一直在扩建自己的网络,以满足日益增长的需求。但这些公司的管理人士表示从未见过如此突然的大幅上涨。西班牙电信公司的首席技术官恩里克·布兰科(Enrique Blanco)说,电信行业原本预计需要一年的增长在几天内就实现了。

“In just two days we grew all the traffic we had planned for 2020,” Mr. Blanco said.


On Monday, traffic on AT&T’s networks was up 27 percent compared to the same day last month, and last week Verizon experienced a 22 percent increase in traffic on its wireless and fiber broadband service. Wi-Fi calls doubled from their normal volume, the carriers said.


In Europe, internet traffic into homes over fixed lines was up more than 30 percent, according to Telefónica. Activities like online gaming and video conferencing have more than doubled, while messages over WhatsApp have more than quadrupled.


So much traffic and stress on internet networks has slowed the speed of downloading web pages and apps, according to Ookla.


“Congestion is higher,” said Adriane Blum, an Ookla spokeswoman. “We’re all at home, and the activities we’re doing in this unprecedented time are not low-bandwidth usage, which means a lot of activity on a network.”

“拥堵加剧了。”Ookla发言人阿德里安·布鲁姆(Adriane Blum)说。“我们都在家里,在这个史无前例的时期,我们的活动的带宽需求是很高的,意味着网络上有很多活动。”

Cisco said demand for its WebEx teleconference service had tracked the spread of the coronavirus. Demand first surged in Asia, then in Europe, and last week it soared 240 percent in the United States. The demand has pushed up failure rates delivering video conferencing, said Sri Srinivasan, a Cisco senior vice president in charge of WebEx.

思科表示,对其WebEx电话会议服务的需求可以追踪冠状病毒的传播。首先是亚洲,然后是欧洲,上周美国的需求量飙升了240%。思科负责WebEx的高级副总裁斯里·斯里尼瓦桑(Sri Srinivasan)说,这种需求推高了视频会议的断线率。

“I don’t know if we’ll soon see a peak, not for weeks to come,” he said. “The reason I say that is because we aren’t seeing traffic in Asia slow down even now.”


Internet service providers said they could handle the deluge of traffic but were adding capacity. Verizon, Cox and AT&T said they were building more cell sites to strengthen mobile networks, increasing the number of fiber connections on their network backbones, and upgrading the routing and switching technology that lets devices talk to one another and share an internet connection.


Orange, formerly France Télécom, has doubled its capacity inside undersea internet cables. In Italy, where home internet use is up 90 percent, Telecom Italia said its technicians continued to make repairs and add capacity. Vodafone, one of Europe’s largest networks operators, said it had increased its capacity 50 percent in recent weeks through a mix of software and the addition of more equipment in the field.

前身为法国电信公司(France Télécom)的Orange已经将其海底网络电缆的容量增加了一倍。在意大利,家庭网络使用率上升了90%,意大利电信称其技术人员仍在进行维修和增加容量。欧洲最大的网络运营商之一沃达丰表示,最近几周,该公司通过一系列软件和增加设备的方式,将容量提高了50%。

“We’re seeing some signs of stress,” AT&T’s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, said in an interview on CNN on Sunday. “We’re having to go out and do some augmentation of networks, and so we’re sending our employees out there to get that done, but right now the network is performing quite well.”

“我们已经看到一些有压力的迹象,”AT&T首席执行官兰道尔·史蒂芬森(Randall Stephenson)周日接受CNN采访时说。“我们必须出去做一些网络扩充,所以我们正在派出员工去做这些事,不过目前来看网络的表现不错。”

To prevent clogged networks, Europe has taken the most aggressive steps.


Last week, Mr. Breton, the European Union commissioner, discussed reducing the bitstreams of videos with Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix; Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google; and Susan Wojcicki, the head of YouTube. The companies agreed, as did Amazon for its Prime Video streaming service and Twitch, its online gaming platform.

上周,欧盟专员布雷顿和Netflix首席执行官里德·哈斯廷斯(Reed Hastings)、谷歌首席执行官桑达尔· 皮查伊(Sundar Pichai)、YouTube主管苏珊·沃西基(Susan Wojcicki)商谈了减少流视频的问题。这几家公司以及亚马逊的Prime Video流服务和在线游戏平台Twitch都表示同意。

Many of the companies then went further. On Tuesday, Netflix decided to switch its high-definition video streams in India, Australia and Latin America to slightly lower quality to reduce the traffic they create there by 25 percent, and YouTube said it would make all global streams standard definition.


“We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation,” YouTube said in a statement.


Microsoft’s Xbox gaming business recently asked large gaming companies to release online updates of their games during off-peak hours while it helped focus on the critical internet needs of people involved in the coronavirus crisis, according to an Xbox email reviewed by The New York Times. Video game updates can require great amounts of bandwidth to download.


Xbox asked the companies to release updates in a four-hour overnight window in North America, and only from Monday through Thursday.


“Microsoft is actively monitoring performance and usage trends to ensure we’re optimizing service for our customers worldwide, and accommodating new growth and demand,” the company said. “At the same time, these are unprecedented times, and we’re also taking proactive steps to plan for these high-usage periods.”


While U.S. regulators said they did not plan to follow Europe in asking for streaming and social media companies to degrade their services, they are taking other steps. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission granted Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile temporary access to more airwaves.

美国监管机构表示无意像欧洲那样,要求流媒体和社交媒体公司调降服务,不过也采取了自己的一套措施。上周,联邦通信委员会(Federal Communications Commission)准许威瑞森、AT&T和T-Mobile临时取用更多的波段。

“The F.C.C. has been coordinating closely with network operators to ensure those networks remain up and running,” Ajit Pai, the agency’s chairman, said in a statement.

“FCC在和网络运营商密切合作,确保这些网络的持续运行,”主席阿吉特·帕伊(Ajit Pai)在一份声明中说。

Telefónica’s Mr. Blanco, who has been living under a lockdown in Spain, said he expected the record traffic to last for some time. It may even become the new normal, he said.


In Spain, internet use drops only at 8 p.m., when people across the country go to their windows to cheer health workers and others who are helping to manage the crisis.


“Suddenly at 8 p.m. it goes down, then it goes back up,” Mr. Blanco said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”