YouTube Slashes Video Quality to reduce service congestion

Technology companies are efforts to prevent internet congestion during the Covid-19 pandemic by reducing bandwidth for applications like subscribers video and game download.

YouTube basically adjusts the quality of your video according to the speed of your connection. If you have a high-speed connection, it should, by default, give you a high definition video stream. Lower-speed connections are served standard definition video. But soon, YouTube will switch to streaming at standard definition. You can still be able to view videos in high definition, but you will need to increase the resolution manually as it requires.

“We continue to work closely with govt. and network operators around the world to do our part to minimize stress on the system at this unprecedented situation,” a Google spokesperson said in a report. “Last week, we announced that we were temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the EU. Given the world nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally, starting from today [Tuesday].” The change was earlier reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Differently, network and cybersecurity firms Akamai announced that it’s working with Sony and Microsoft in order to voluntarily throttle video game downloading speeds during this usage hours in areas facing internet disruption.

“This is very necessary for gaming software downloads, which account for big amounts of internet congestion whenever an update is released,” Akamai CEO Tom Leighton reported in a blog post. “A software update for a modern game creates an amount of traffic roughly equal to 30,000 site pgs.

The concern is that the increasing number of people stuck at home watching streaming videos and playing videogames at this moment the pandemic, will overwhelm internet infrastructure and make life harder for people who need to use the internet to communicate with physicians, keep in touch with prone families, work from home, or finish school tests.

Nokia network analytics business Deepfield revealed to WIRED earlier this month that it has seen internet congestion peaks at 20% to 40% higher than usual over the past four weeks in areas that are highly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The bulk of the increase comes from streaming services provider like Netflix, with the company’s traffic adding by 54% to 75% in some places.
person lathering hands with soap and water

However, internet infrastructure has held up to multiple demands. Connection speeds have denied in areas heavily affected by Covid-19, Based on the data collected by internet analysis company Ookla. But in most of the hardest-hit areas, average speeds were still faster this month than they were in December. That’s starting to make changes in places like Italy and Malaysia, where the speeds continue to decline, but others like the Seattle metropolitan area, are holding consistently. It’s also not clear if the slower speeds are the result of overwhelmed infrastructure or from home Wi-Fi routers battling to meet the competing needs of entire households making use of the internet at the same moment.

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