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Comcast Releases 2020 Network Performance Data, Highlighting COVID-19 Impact

Smart technologies, more than $15 billion in investment since 2017, allowed network to manage elevated demand driven by large growth in online video and gaming.

Comcast Corporation today released 2020 network data showing that years of strategic investment, combined with advancements in network software, were among the primary factors that allowed its network to perform at such a high level throughout a year marked by tens of millions of Americans transitioning to working and learning from home.

As the world approaches the one-year anniversary of the widespread pandemic stay-at-home shift, 2020 traffic patterns reveal a sharp traffic surge in March and April, followed by a transition into a more typical – although still elevated – growth trend throughout the balance of the year.

“The Internet was a bright spot during the darkest hours of 2020, keeping hundreds of millions of people connected to work, school, entertainment, and most importantly, each other,” said Tony Werner, President of Technology, Product, Xperience at Comcast Cable. “We’re proud of the years of strategic investment and innovation that enabled us to build the foundation of a high-speed, intelligent network designed to scale to the needs of our most demanding users, and also adapt to unexpected events.”

2020 at a glance:

14x

Traffic patterns remained highly asymmetrical, as downstream traffic volumes were 14x higher than upstream traffic volumes throughout 2020.

32%

Peak Internet traffic rose 32 percent over pre-pandemic levels, and over 50 percent in some markets in March.

38%

Peak downstream traffic in 2020 increased approximately 38 percent over 2019 levels and peak upstream traffic increased approximately 56 percent over 2019 levels.

1 Trillion

For the first time ever, as Comcast customers surfed, streamed and emailed more than ever before, they generated more than a trillion Internet requests (DNS lookups) each day.

In the span of 4 months in the wake of pandemic lockdowns, Comcast’s network experienced almost 2 years-worth of traffic growth.

The Internet was a bright spot during the darkest hours of 2020, keeping hundreds of millions of people connected to work, school, entertainment, and most importantly, each other.
Tony Werner
President of Technology, Product, Xperience at Comcast Cable

Throughout 2020, Comcast continued to deliver above-advertised speeds to customers across the country, including in areas most affected by COVID-19. The remarkable performance of the network during this time can be attributed to outstanding work by engineering and care teams, key innovations and billions of dollars in strategic investment for many years before the pandemic began:

Comcast engineers built multiple new smart software platforms – powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning – that can detect and fix problems before they affect customers. One of those software platforms, Comcast Octave – the completion of which was dramatically accelerated by Comcast engineers in response to the pandemic.

36%

Comcast Octave increased upstream capacity by up to 36 percent, right at the time when traffic levels began to surge.


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