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iOS 5... Oh what a night!

October 13th, 2011 at 14:38 by Matt Turner


At Plusnet we keep an eye on upcoming sport, TV shows and other events which may have an effect on our network. Last year Apple released iOS 4 and this had a small effect on our traffic over a few days. To help cope with increased demand across our network we added over 2Gbps to our network this week, but this year's iOS update had a much larger effect than last year's in just one evening. The graph below shows traffic being sent to our customers over the last week from just one content distribution network, increasing in speed as the peaks grow in size downwards:


And, of course, what better to do whilst updating your iDevice than to download some new music?


We noticed most streaming traffic drop in comparison to the previous day, iPlayer lost over 700Mbps:


The down side of all this extra traffic is an increase in latency, or the time taken for data to move over our network. We classify this data into different streams, depending on how time-sensitive it is. Downloading iOS 5 was classified as 'Gold', the same as browsing web pages or sending email and five of our 29 end points on our newer WBC network experienced latency exceeding our tolerance for these services:


However, our network design means that time-critical traffic such as gaming and Skype are prioritised and so should not have suffered in the same time period:


Please ignore the peaks you see in this graph, they're a result of artefacts within the measurement system as opposed to real latency readings.

We've asked in our Forums and internally if this had any effect on our customers' experience so if you noticed any problems then please let us know.

Looking ahead, we expect the extra traffic to decrease over the next few days and then disappear into the background, following the pattern of iOS 4. After that, we have the Champions League on Tuesday with both Manchester United and Manchester City playing - that's expected to be busy. The Formula 1 season is still ongoing, but with Sebastian Vettel having already wound up the World Championship, viewing figures are expected to decline.


This entry was posted by Matt Turner on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at 2:38 pm and is tagged with and is posted in the category Plusnet News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 comments on "iOS 5... Oh what a night!"


I have to say actually, having not been used to a Plusnet connection at home (only at work) for the last couple of years, I was very impressed with the speed my iOS5 downloads came down :-) now I'm stopping with the parents for a few weeks. I think a lot of people would have been updating OSX too for iCloud :-).


AAISP had a bit of a running commentary on the issues last night. You can see them on their Service Status page:

"Downloading iOS 5 was classified as ‘Gold’" - why ? hardly time sensitive traffic.



Because its a non shaped DL site? its not sensitive, but it isnt bronze either (p2p), HTTP downloads dont *really* cause that much impact (usually) its just the hundreds of thousands of people who tried to get iOS5 asap caused a spike. Normally this traffic would be gold and would be much lower.

Apparently the whole of the UK experienced an extra 200gbps (about 1/5 more) than 'normal' for that time. Not bad imho (and no wonder the apple servers were struggling.. thats some serious bandwidth!)


Downloads from akamai servers (which from the looks of the graph above, Apple use) are capped to 2MB/s from 6pm to midnight. Was it just the sheer number of people downloading the update at this speed or does this traffic management rule not apply?


@dasx199, it does apply but remember not all accounts have this rate limit applied.

What abaout a LAN-FILL tax?



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