Confirmed: iOS5 Demand Caused “Highest Ever” Traffic Spike In UK



Apple’s release of iOS5 caused “the highest ever traffic” over the UK broadband network, BT has confirmed.

We reported yesterday that demand for iOS5 caused “unprecendented” broadband traffic for some UK internet service providers – but today, BT (which manages the entire national broadband network as well as running its own ISP business, BT Retail) sent the following statement to Cult of Mac:

Over the last two nights, BT has experienced the highest ever traffic levels over the UK broadband network.

Regarding the nationwide broadband network, the statement said:

Traffic levels were at their highest level ever seen within BT’s UK broadband network (wholesale through BT Retail and other content providers) on Wednesday night – this was sustained from the launch of Apple’s iPhone OS 5 until past midnight.

Last night (Thursday) saw the 2nd highest we’ve ever seen on the UK broadband network, less than 10Gbits/s lower than Wednesday and sustained for a longer period of time.

This exceeded previous peaks seen during Wimbledon and major England football matches. At a rough figure we were seeing over 80Gbits/s of extra traffic on the network last night (Wednesday). That would make it about twice the volume of the previous largest event, an England World Cup Football Game – which was during UK business hours, not the evening peak. Estimated traffic volumes from the Content Delivery Network (CDN) that Apple use were nearly double the peak last Tuesday.

As a parting shot, the statement says there were “negligible issues with network congestion” – although judging by the comments on our last post, readers might have a differing views on that.

John Petter, managing director of BT Retail, said: “Over the last two nights we’ve seen the highest ever traffic levels over BT Retail’s broadband network in the UK, with unprecedented demand for Apple’s new iPhone operating system.”

  • Chris

    I just found a fix for the iOS 5 updating error ‘3002’ (or also 3200): I had downloaded iOS 5 via the link, but it wouldn’t let me update, now if I click ‘restore’ (while pressing alt), I get past the error 3002 and can update to iOS 5! hooray ! ;)

  • Snoop

    While I can’t confirm this is the reason, it is suspicious that my comcast internet was completely out from 3-11pm Wednesday evening, and my ATT network was incredibly slow.  I live 3 miles from Purdue University, and my neighborhood is surrounded by college kid apartments.  Comcast said our whole area was out.  Coincidence? iOS 5 may have crashed West Lafayette.

  • rod griffiths

    I tried to upgrade my IPhone 3 Gs and ended up with a message saying “Only comparable SIM cards from a supported carrier may be used…..please insert the SIM that came with your phone.” Only one problem, that’s the one that is in there. Looked on the web and find there are guys all over the world with the same problem. Went into Car phone warehouse and they had no idea. tried O2 and they have a long queue for the 4s, so no luck there. Finally went back to Car phone warehouse and bought a 4s from them, with no queue.
    So the now new 4s works fine, but I have a crippled 3s off the end of it’s contract with nothing but a daft message.

  • Alex-Spider Hewitt

     Yeah we’re on virgin fibre optic lines, and it still took me FOREVER to download iOS 5. 

     Also, BT don’t have any public lines in Hull… I dread to think what it did to KC’s shitty speeds 0_0

  • SbMobile

    This small tidbit shows why the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is needed more then ever. All providers are going to need future infrastructure improvements to meet higher usage rates in the coming future. The same overload was experienced here in Canada too. I couldn’t sync iCloud or my iPhone 4 for a day. AT&T represents the need for an expansion in spectrum & a higher frequency (speed). In the future, outages & network failings won’t be tolerated. The politics needs to stop, since all of that is only about greed & stuffing pockets (extortion). Lets get some faster networks so customers can enjoy the full user-experience from their devices.

  • d_n

    I can also confirm that restore worked each time for the 3 iPads in my family, but update did not.

  • stevewoz

    iOS 5 bricked 2 of my iPhones. One of the two could not even be restored at an Apple Store, even with low level firmware update attempts. They had to give me a new phone, even though I was replacing it with an iPhone 4S in 2 days.

    It took hours for the software download (I don’t have true ‘broadband’) but something must have been wrong with the downloaded file. Every installation attempt from then on took a while before indicating that it couldn’t be completed because of an ‘internal error’. WTF? Internal error? Internal to what? Apple’s servers? The OS? My computer? Both of my iPhones? A totally worthless message for an end user, but nobody at the Apple Store could explain it either.

    I bat close to 0% on every Apple upgrade. I won’t get into the lengthy list here. But it seems like years that these things, and purchases of new products, have had bad bad results for so many of us. Why can’t someone put in a little counter that only lets a certain number of people start the procedure at one time, a number that ensures a reasonably quick and successful outcome?

    I like to attack and solve problems of this type myself. One time I could not update any iPhones or iPods or iPads. Over and over it would indicated that it was updating but never completed. I let it try for 30 hours once, in a hotel somewhere that I was travelling. No progress bar or error message told the truth, that it could not complete. The Apple stores couldn’t solve this but they could update my products. Then I’d spend more hours getting them back to where they’d started, in terms of apps and memorized passwords and music and photos. Finally I bought a new computer, figuring that mine must be the problem. I’d already trashed and recreated every file that seemed as though it might be the problem. I migrated to this new MacBook Pro. The same update problem was in this new computer. Well, I don’t give up easily. I bought yet another MacBook Pro (I still have them all) and this time installed everything I wanted on it by hand. I entered every account name and password by hand from scratch. This time it worked. I wonder what most people would have done.

  • Dom Yates

    This is unlikely to ever be as big an issue again with future iOS releases. They’re going to be delta updates.

  • Adam Armstrong

    Go to your cable modem. Unscrew the cable. Look at the cable. Recall what copper looks like. Screw the cable back in. Unscrew the cable. Look at the cable. Screw the cable back in.

    Realise that virgin’s “Fiber optic broadband” is marketing horse-shit. Stop repeating it.