COVID19 Connectivity

This is the first time I have written about Coronavirus, and how it has, is, and likely will affect internet connectivity directly and indirectly.

COVID19 Connectivity has been a mixed bag for me so far. When lockdown happened the initial requirement was for improved connectivity – both a demand for additional bandwidth, but also (and perhaps more interestingly) for improved connection quality.

Home workers need more bandwidth

What I saw at first was what I had expected – parents trying to work from home, with their bandwidth hogging teenagers streaming content for school and play and not having enough bandwidth for their own Zoom meetings. This was especially the case in rural locations of course where many properties are still only covered by aging copper DSL circuits.

bandwidth alone is not enough

What I saw next was more surprising. Families on high speed cable and fibre connections from BT and virgin media where real time video and VoIP was failing but speed tests were showing hundreds of megabytes of bandwidth.

In many cases this was due to over-subscription of services in the suburbs where these families were based – and so bandwidth and latency were highly variable, and it was this volatility that cause video to buffer, calls to degrade and online gaming to lag.

As we provided support to our customers suffering with these issues, three things became obvious.

  1. Speedfusion VPNs Forward Error Correction is extraordinarily useful just about everywhere.
  2. Cellular has a massive role to play as both a way to add data and also as a secondary channel to send duplicate packets over using speedfusion.
  3. Managing LAN side clients and how much bandwidth they can use is key.

rapid deployment a key requirement

What came next for us, as COVID19 worsened here in the UK (and the government finally started catching up) was a rush of rapid deployment requirements, from Nightingale hospital builders to security companies protecting high volume cold storage facilities, to COVID19 testing and thermal monitoring stations.

All of these requirements were sporadic, highly emotive, intensive and complex. Naturally we relied on our cloudcases to fulfill demand quickly using next day delivery and multiple single operator SIMs installed. The MAX Transit Duos (CAT12) inside are our everyday workhorse now and we love them for their power and versatility.

As we now recover from building cloudcases till our finger tips bled, what we’re beginning to see is emergent industries looking to innovate a return. Broadcast is proving to be a key industry now, as we provide connectivity to radio presenters, sports commentators and TV game show presenters and their production teams all working remotely (typically at home), for all the same reasons the home working parents had, but also adding integration with existing often complex core networks.

Which leads me onto the near future and my expectations.

connectivity needs to change as fast as businesses will

What we’re seeing the beginnings of is a massive shift in retail with physical shops closing and virtual online stores replacing them – which naturally causes delivery and logistics firms to expand and grow into new warehousing and service locations. We are expecting to see more demand for temporary and rapid deployed connectivity in those areas.

Business is also evolving. Many firms will not survive COVID19, and those that do will be looking at blending in home working as the norm I think, both in preparation for any resurgence of the virus, but also because of measured improvements in employee health and productivity. Many of those home workers will need improved connectivity quality and reliability.

We will also see the merger and acquisition of companies in all verticals and the need to combine, consolidate and expand remotely deployed infrastructure quickly and easily everywhere and anywhere.

next gen networking

Whatever happens, I know that we’ll be busy, building the next generation of networks, whilst enhancing and combining the last generation infrastructures to keep businesses going and their staff working.

Take care and stay safe.

Peplink Ninja
Peplink Ninja is an independent Peplink news aggregation and commentary site, providing access to all the latest Peplink & Pepwave company, partner and product news.

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