Network and Engineering
Comcast 2021 Network Report: Traffic Increased Over Historic 2020 Levels, Even as Usage Shifted Toward Pre-Pandemic Patterns
After hitting historic peaks in 2020, traffic on the Comcast network grew again in 2021, according to the Comcast 2021 Network Report, released today.
Backed by billions in strategic investment and groundbreaking advances in network technology, the Comcast network continued to thrive and delivered above-advertised speeds to customers throughout this unprecedented era.
The data show a gradual shift throughout the year toward pre-pandemic traffic patterns. This included peak downstream traffic once again increasing faster than upstream traffic, and peak usage times shifting from earlier in the day to later in the evening. Peak downstream (download) traffic increased 11 percent over 2020 levels, while peak upstream (upload) traffic increased 5 percent. While less dramatic than the historic spikes of 2020 – when peak downstream traffic rose 38 percent and upstream traffic grew 56 percent – it is noteworthy that demand continued to increase even from historic 2020 highs.
“Over the past two years, our network has been a powerful and reliable pillar for our customers as they’ve navigated dramatic changes in how we live, learn, play and work,” said Charlie Herrin, President of Technology, Product, Experience at Comcast Cable. “The outstanding performance of the network throughout this time is a testament to our commitment to strategic investment, unceasing innovation, and the incredible talent and dedication of our technology teams across the country.”
Even as network demand grew, Comcast increased speeds for its most popular Xfinity speed tiers in 2021, including increasing gig speeds to 1.2 gigabits-per-second
Continuous network innovation has been essential not just to managing the pandemic traffic surge, but also in future-proofing the network as demand continues to grow. In addition to smart software and virtualization technologies that increase performance and reliability, Comcast took major steps in 2021 toward the next phase of network evolution: 10G.
10G technology will allow Comcast to deliver multi-gigabit upload and download speeds over the connections already in tens of millions of American homes. In 2021, Comcast completed successful tests of key technologies required to deliver 10G, including a world-first demonstration of a complete 10G connection from network to modem.
“Network investment is important, but the network architects and software engineers across Comcast are also innovating at the speed of software,” said Elad Nafshi, EVP & Chief Network Officer at Comcast Cable. “Our colleagues leading these innovations are creating the future for our customers.”