2020-2021: Networks Doing Fine in the Time of Corona

Amazingly, there have been close to zero reports of additional traffic causing important problems for people at home. The networks are successfully handling 20-50% traffic increases while still staying fast enough for almost all practical purposes. Traffic has now plateaued and speeds improving weekly.

Median landline download speeds in 90% of U.S. cities were within 20% of norm. The majority of cities tested over 40 Mbps on downloads. Virtually all connections were fast enough for three 4 Mbps HD streams except on DSL links that already had problems and should have been upgraded years ago.

Wireless traffic was actually down in some places and rarely increased by more than 20%. Many people at home used Wi-Fi instead of cellular, leaving wireless data networks in good shape. 4G & 5G wireless technology has improved enormously in the last few years. Verizon’s cost to carry a bit has dropped ~40% annually. Speeds are now often 50-150 Mbps down.

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