Demand For iOS5 Swamps UK Broadband [Updated]

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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.)