COVID-19 has forced millions of people to work from home and children to study away from school, which has put additional pressure on bandwidth, (The average rate of data transfer through a communication path, such as phone lines or fibre) and increased the importance of power continuity for data centres.

Openreach (BT) revealed some data about the changes to weekly network traffic in the UK. London saw a jump of 28.58% from a normal working week in February compared to the week commencing 20th April, as published by ISP Review.

The majority of increased network traffic levels occurred during the daytime, with normal levels resuming in the evenings, interestingly still lower than the peaks experienced annually around Christmas time. Openreach, one of the UK’s main connectivity suppliers have stated that they have experienced no issues with coping with the additional workload.

Despite applications such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Houseparty, Netflix and Amazon Prime used on a daily basis by millions of households, Openreach is not anticipating any bandwidth problems in the weeks and months ahead.

Did Netflix Reduce Streaming Quality?

Back at the beginning of the pandemic, Netflix cut down data consumption to ease internet capacity as more people switched to working from home in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and various other nations, as internet service providers were concerned about the additional volume of traffic. With 11 million subscribers in the UK, the main impact was on the Ultra High Definition customers but there has been very little negative noise from users. By reducing picture quality, Netflix reduced data consumption by 25% easing the pressure on bandwidth in Europe and elsewhere.

Netflix Adjust Bandwidth During COVID-19

Broadband Connections Pushed to the Limit

The BBC, however, reported varying degrees of broadband speeds are making life more difficult for some people across the country who are trying to work, learn or enjoy entertainment.  

In the article, it says ‘In theory, 95% of premises should be able to access superfast broadband but take-up of services remains low.’ With many households on the government Furlough scheme, most are keeping a watchful eye on outgoings.

Video calling services are used to connect many families, friends, colleagues and classrooms, but slow broadband speeds cause audio and picture quality to be poor, demonstrating that there are still issues, especially when families try and use the internet at home simultaneously.

Video Calling Impact on Bandwidth

Why Has My Internet Connectivity Worsened?

A good guide to how many pieces of equipment can run at any one time is to see how many CAT ports are on the back of your router. Most broadband routers only have 4-5 sockets, as this is the limit of how many pieces of equipment can be used at any one time. So if your PC and TV are connected to your router via cable, this leaves you with connectivity for 3 spare devices, after this, you will receive reductions in bandwidth.

Some tips to try to improve bandwidth include:

  • Where possible plug a device in with an Ethernet cable
  • Make sure the router isn’t surrounded by clutter
  • Upgrade your broadband
  • Download films to devices at quieter times when others aren’t online
  • Don’t plug routers in on extension cables

Protecting Data Centres in the Pandemic

Data centre operators fall into the ‘keyworker’ bracket providing vital services to the nation, enabling people to work remotely and provide access to information online.

This increase in the number of people working from home has brought added pressures to data centres to be fully functional around the clock.

Woman Working From Home During COVID-19

It is now more important than ever for datacentres to have a reliable backup power supply in place if the national grid was to go down. Need we be reminded of last years power outage that brought chaos, with big companies paying out millions of pounds in compensation for the disruption caused.

Power security for business continuity has been one of the priorities for Shenton Group during these testing times, safeguarding our clients from blackouts as well as ensuring vital data centre equipment remains operational.

Moving forwards and looking beyond the end of the pandemic, data centre growth is set to continue. Employees have demonstrated the ability to be productive while working from home utilising cloud technology and services such as Microsoft Teams, which will only drive the use of backup systems and IT infrastructure, both reliant on data centres.

Data Centre Power Supply Specialists

We understand that downtime is not an option for sites such as these and have the experience to integrate reliable solutions with no break in your service or power. We have a vast portfolio of data centre projects and can give your organisation confidence that operations can function 24/7 with complete power security.

Do you have a reliable backup power supply?
As specialists in backup and continuous power solutions for Data Centres, Shenton Group are available to assist those looking for standby generators and UPS systems for data centres and overall IT infrastructure.

All of our continuous power solutions are fully supported by our technical team, including ongoing monitoring and maintenance. To find out more about Data Centre solutions and to ensure your power security, get in contact today!

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