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Royal Wedding turns UK into Internet hotspot

Traffic levels hit 7 percent of global total

Article comments

The London wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton did not slow the Internet as some had predicted but it did cause global video streaming traffic to hit record levels.

Google’s YouTube streaming collaboration with the Palace on a special Royal Channel reportedly exceeded 400 million viewers, making it one of the largest events ever screened on the Internet.

Meanwhile, Internet company Akamai said that the event broke its previous record of 1.6 million concurrent video streams registered for the 2010 World Cup.

The company also recorded that the UK itself turned into a major Internet traffic hotspot in the hours before and after the wedding, accounting for more than 7 percent of packets crossing its servers. Global streaming volume was at least 80 percent above normal levels.

At one point BBC news web servers became overloaded, leading to a short period of timeouts.

Precise figures will be collated later today by various providers but one thing is clear: without a number of engineering changes that have happened in recent years, the Internet would struggle to cope with such events.

The design principle of the Internet is multi-path resilience. Coping with unusual traffic peaks at specific moments and points on the Internet has required the emergence of a new phenomenon, high-bandwidth peering. This prioritises connections between the handful of companies at the core of the Internet that really matter, including Google.

YouTube is not only the sensible service through which to stream the Royal Wedding it is probably one of the very few sites where it would even be possible.


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