Record-breaking week may be ahead for Internet streaming, analyst says

Could Internet traffic records be broken this week? With no less than 13 major media events scheduled since Sunday--including Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) latest product announcement, a live Aerosmith concert via Yahoo!, and several sporting events, all with live streaming options--viewers could be turning online more than ever before, according to Streaming Media analyst Dan Rayburn.

"Thanks to so many large scale live events and large file downloads taking place this week, it's going to be a huge week of traffic on the Internet with content delivery networks and last mile providers preparing for what's to come," Rayburn wrote on the Streaming Media blog.

Sports will likely take up a big chunk of streaming traffic: Monday Night Football's season premiere will likely impact WatchESPN's numbers, while seed matches for the North America and Europe League of Legends soccer tourney will draw in viewers.

For a benchmark, note that July's World Cup tournament blew through streaming records, with Akamai recording a peak of 6.87 Tbps on July 9, during the Netherlands-Argentina semifinal.

And New York Fashion Week is in full swing, with fashionistas avidly watching the runways via live streams.

Outside of video streaming, major game releases from EA Sports, Bungie, Xbox and Sony will impact last-mile networks. Likewise, security patches from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and the new iOS 8 update from Apple later this week could play a role in high traffic numbers.

All those downloads could come at a price, Rayburn said. "We're going to see long download times, more buffering of streams, more QoS issues and ISPs that will take steps to deal with the traffic, knowing it will have a negative impact on the user experience."

What it adds up to, Rayburn notes, is plenty of work for content delivery networks, including Akamai, Limelight, Level 3 Communications and Apple's own shiny new CDN.

"Yahoo's concert is being done by Akamai. Level 3 and others do the Xbox releases, Limelight was doing a lot of Sony downloads last I checked and when iOS 8 is available, I expect a lot of it to be delivered by Apple themselves, with Akamai and maybe also Level 3," he said, noting that many of this week's events will send more than 1 Tbps through a single CDN.

In fact, Apple's live stream of its iPhone 6 unveiling sputtered on Tuesday, even though it limited views to Safari browser users on Macs, the Wall Street Journal noted. While it is likely to be the biggest traffic spike of the week, it's a telling signal for CDN providers.

For more:
- read this Streaming Media post

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