Thursday, September 19, 2013

Watch the Internet Strain

The iOS 7 release yesterday showed that the Internet is still not ready for major release events. There seemed to be some glitches at Apple’s servers, but most of the problems were local to the places where people were downloading the new mobile OS. At my house, when I tried to stream movies (medium-resolution video from, geographically nowhere near Apple), I found that my Internet connection was running at less than a tenth of its rated bandwidth. Other people have mentioned similar effects. This morning, things seemed to be back to normal, and I downloaded and installed iOS 7 in about 15 minutes. Staged releases help to minimize release-day bottlenecks, and when large simultaneous releases can’t be avoided, engineers can study the data traffic to find out where some of the weak links in the Internet are located.