This is a concern that you likely haven’t worried about since the days of Kevin Mitnick. The internet is such a large service that spans the entire globe using state-of-the-art technology to deliver connectivity to every computer and IoT device out there. It’s a strong beast that can withstand botnets wreaking havoc and large traffic entities like Google and Amazon. Who would have known that Netflix and YouTube suddenly could post a threat?
That’s what certain officials are concerned about, who claim that all of the increased activity brought upon by everyone stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak could potentially cause issues for the stability of the internet as a whole.
(everyone both industry and consumers) “all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation.” – Thierry Breton, European Commissioner/Internal Market and Services
European Commissioner Thierry Breton is one of these individuals who are pushing that video streaming services and even users (consumers) take measures to decrease the resolution of the content they watch, in order to contribute to a more stable internet experience. This would help to decrease the amount of overall bandwidth being consumed.
Some of these services, like Netflix, implement features within their network to automatically adjust to demand in order to provide an uninterrupted experience for everyone. It may not be so strict that you’ll notice much of a difference suddenly in the quality of the show you are watching, but enough to keep things running smoothly.
If they were limit high definition (HD) access and begin forcing certain or most content in standard definition (SD) however, you will notice a difference. Especially with 4K displays. This is what these officials are pushing for in order to maintain a stable internet for everyone–part of their #SwitchtoStandard social movement.
At the moment, there haven’t been any noticeable issues to be concerned about when it comes to the internet as a whole, as everything has been running smoothly. However, for specific services and websites like Facebook, this isn’t the case. Some of these sources have noticed a huge increase in the usage of their communication tools, especially when it comes to video calls/chat. These traffic spikes have gone above their normal expectations, forcing them to have to react in order to maintain the stability of their services.
So if you feel like contributing the cause, you can personally dig into the individual app settings so that you can manually choose the default quality of your streamed content (assuming you have access to such a setting, to begin with). If internet traffic really does become a concern, you can bet that you will be seeing automatically reduced resolutions in the content you watch, enforced by the companies/apps themselves.
For now, it’s up in the air if this will truly be an issue or not. At least we will finally have the opportunity to study how much traffic the internet is really good for.
Didn’t think that was possible. Isn’t traffic routed in ways to avoid that from ever happening these days?