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News

Network traffic peaks as UK browsers point to the Olympics

ScanSafe : 19 August, 2008  (Technical Article)
Companies warned to monitor bandwidth and introduce filtering if necessary as Olympic fever gains hold after Great Britain's successful weekend in China
ScanSafe urges companies to address bandwidth concerns as the interest in the Olympic Games grows due to the success of the British team. The British team has shot to third place in the medal table behind the US and China and the weekend was described by the British Olympic Association as "the greatest weekend in British Olympic history". This has no doubt sparked new interest from the UK population and has increased employees' desire for regular updates. ScanSafe's datacenters are now seeing an average of 16 minutes viewing per employee per day, up from 2 minutes in the opening weekend.

ScanSafe has previously seen significant peaks in data being downloaded during sporting events such as the World Cup football games and the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

During this years Wimbledon tennis tournament, ScanSafe's 24/7 scanners noticed a considerable peak in the amount of data being downloaded from the Wimbledon website. Whilst it is obvious to expect an increase in Web traffic to this website during the tournament, there was a surprisingly high level of data being downloaded from corporate PCs, reaching a peak of 5,418 megabytes on 2 July, 2008 during the Nadal-Murray quarter finals. For the majority of SMBs this would create a strain on their bandwidth.

"Due to the impressive performance of the British Olympic team we expect there will be a significant increase in requests for Olympic-related sites over the next six days and we predict that this will take its toll on companies bandwidth," Spencer Parker, director of product management comments. "If companies do not have sufficient bandwidth then a number of problems can occur including business interruption and a slowdown in performance to critical business LAN applications as well as serious cost implications."

Companies should consider limiting the amount of streaming media accessible to employees during the Olympic Games. Unlike some solutions, ScanSafe allows companies to specifically block streaming media rather than blocking access to entire sites. The British team still has medal opportunities in boxing, track, triple jump, 400 metre and 200 metre so interest will remain high until the end of the week.

"Whilst companies may want to give employees the freedom to look at these sites they should address the problems that may occur due to a sharp increase in the viewing of streaming media," Parker continues. "Employees that are not taking part in this Olympic Web surfing may find that their access to legitimate business sites is delayed due to the pressure on the company's bandwidth. Importantly this could have an impact on the company's bottom line."

ScanSafe recommends that companies spend some time reassessing their acceptable usage policies in order to control the amount of streaming media that can be viewed. If businesses take the correct precautions then they should be protected from not only the danger of bandwidth congestion but also the issues associated with it.
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