The impact of the Olympics on consumer fixed broadband networks has normalized after the interesting weekend activity. Today we will look at some statistics gathered from some DSL and cable operators in North America. 

1. After a Sunday blip, Netflix streaming is back to normal levels. Sunday seems to have been a day where consumers not only watched the Olympic broadcasts, but also tested the streaming capabilities, at least across the Procera network footprint. On Monday through Thursday, Netflix quickly returned to normal levels, with subscriber counts and traffic volume consistent with other summer weekdays. It is unlikely that we will see that same type of bump in Netflix traffic during the second weekend, but we will keep an eye on that.


2. The percentage of subscribers consuming the Olympics streaming from NBC seems to be holding steady at ~2%. On several cable networks, Wednesday’s peak levels for streaming were 50% higher than Tuesday or Thursday (with the key events on Wednesday being a Michael Phelps-Ryan Lochte matchup and the men’s gymnastics completion). It is interesting to know that a small percentage of the streaming traffic (less than 1%) is IPv6, which is consistent with the levels we saw in the World IPv6 Day in June. The fact that the streaming is available via IPv6 is a big step forward, and the fact that at least some users are consuming video over IPv6 is also a big win.


3. Wi-Fi offload has been a hot topic over the past few months, as mobile network operators look to “recapture” revenue lost from Wi-Fi offload traffic. Consumer broadband operators have been feeling the effect of mobile device offload acutely since the introduction of the iPhone, and a look at the device type information used to access the Olympics streaming reveals that iPhone traffic is 3X that of Android phone, even though the total number of Android phones was almost double the number of iPhones. This is most likely due to the higher resolution videos used for iPhones (i.e. not Flash video). The total volume of traffic to the mobile devices is less than 10% of the overall streaming volume, but still significant as a contributor to network usage.


4. Social networking peak rates (dominated by Twitter and Facebook traffic) are remaining consistent from day-to-day. After the initial volume bump as the Olympics started, the bandwidth usage for the main social sites has not increased on the consumer broadband side (although the suspicion is that the mobile and “workplace” usage of both has gone up during the week).



IPv4 vs. IPv6 Olympics Streaming

Android vs. iPhone Olympics Streaming Peak Rates