Demand For iOS5 Swamps UK Broadband [Updated]



Demand for yesterday’s iOS 5 release combined with all the associated updates for OS X and other apps caused “unprecedented levels” of traffic over one UK broadband network.

Writing on their own network status alerts site, engineers at UK ISP AAISP reported that “something was up” at 8.48pm UK time last night.

Ten minutes later, they updated with:

This is worse than the world cup traffic!

Then moments later:

Only clue is the new Apple iOS5 stuff – if that is the cause I am impressed.

Followed by:

Usage has just reached unprecedented levels – we have not seen anything like this…

This morning, traffic was back to normal and the incident declared “closed”, but not before the AA team added a final:

We are guessing this was the iOS5 release.

The Guardian has more on this with graphs from LINX, the London Internet Exchange. UK data traffic jumped by one fifth, an extra 200 gigabits per second, following the release of iOS5.

Of course, AAISP is just one broadband provider in the UK. How were others affected? Cult of Mac contacted BT, which manages the physical broadband network through a subsidiary company, to ask for a comment. If and when we get one from them, we’ll post an update here.

UPDATE: Andy Davidson, Director of another London-based network exchange, LONAP, got in touch with us. He said:

The traffic last night was around twice what we would see on a typical Wednesday evening. There was as much traffic as we would see for a major sporting event (such as England playing in the World or European cups). Such volumes have never been seen before for a software upgrade.

(Thanks to Paul Mutton for the tip about this.)

  • Nate

    I’m from the uk and I’ve never heard of AAISP as a network provider lol but I had no poRoblem with Internet but with restoring my phone

  • GDal

    Never heard of them…

    My iPhone on Three Mobile was happily downloading both the iOS5 and the Lion 10.7.2 updates… SLOWWW, but it did it. I think Apple was throttled as other downloads were much faster. Thank goodness for unlimited mobile broadband…

  • Tim Morris

    I’m on BT Infinity here in Blighty, and I had a complete loss of connection at around 12.30am this morning, fortunately both my devices had finished updating.

  • JW

    Further proof as to how crap our broadband network is here in the UK. When will the government realise they’re a laughing stock by further delaying a target of every home having at least 2Mbps to 2015. I expect the most of the developed world will be into the Gbps by then where as many of us struggle to get 1Mb. I did however manage to get iOS 5 fine.

  • Porkwilliam2011

    On my Virgin 10mbps connection I was yesterday getting a download speed of around 8 mbps up until 6PM when iOS 5 was released; after that, my connection crapped-out and I was getting download speeds of 1mbps!!!!! Was only able to download iOS 5 at 4 am this morning!

  • Nathan Jacobs

    AAISP are a niche service provider catering for tech savvy
    consumers/businesses who want a real connection to the internet.

    I have an FTTC line with them and am very
    happy with the service.

  • Gareth Delaney

    This is pathetic as a IM for an ISP they should know exactly where the data is sourced, this company has a few thousand users and is classed still as a ‘start up isp’ they are also what is known as a VISP (Virtual ISP) meaning they resell another providers product.

    This is simply down to the ISP having a cheap link into the core network, at best this is a misleading article out of lack of knowledge by the author or an attempt at grandiose.

  • Gareth Delaney

    Nathan you know they are just reselling BT/VM products, the only FTTC provider in the UK is Virgin, these guys offer a standard BT or Virgin service at a mighty mark up for a legacy IP.

  • Shipeep

    I’m glad I’m in Germany on my 64 Mbit/s connection, it came down pretty quick last night!

  • GDal

    I see. I didn’t know FTTC (new term to me) was available. I knew BT were doing something like 40Mbps DSL, but this is cool. And cheap, unless I misinterpreted the info sheet. What speed do you get?