Comcast, which invested $4.2 billion to strengthen, expand the network in 2021,said download traffic increased 11 percent, while upload traffic rose 5 percent.
Comcast had achieved historic spikes in 2020 – when peak downstream traffic rose 38 percent and upstream traffic grew 56 percent.
“The outstanding performance of the network is a testament to our commitment to investment, unceasing innovation, and the incredible talent and dedication of our technology teams,” said Charlie Herrin, President of Technology, Product, Experience at Comcast Cable.
2021 at a glance:
Peak downstream traffic increased approximately 11 percent over 2020 levels
Peak upstream traffic increased approximately 5 percent over 2020 levels
Traffic patterns remained highly asymmetrical, as peak downstream traffic grew 2x faster than upstream traffic, more closely mirroring pre-pandemic trends
Network asymmetry increased throughout the year, with total downstream traffic volumes 12.4x higher than upstream for the first 6 months of the year, and 14.5x higher for the last six months
Daily peak times shifted toward pre-pandemic norms throughout the year – peak upstream traffic times were 10am in January, 3pm in June, and 10pm in December
Streaming, web browsing, and gaming all saw the largest increases in network consumption with a 10-20 percent increase for all three categories
Similar to last year, entertainment activities dominated peak network traffic, with video streaming accounting for 71 percent of downstream traffic (same as 2020)
Other activities that contributed to peak downstream traffic include both online gaming and web browsing which both increased their share of network usage by 1 percentage point over 2020 levels
Videoconferencing as a share of peak network traffic decreased slightly in 2021, remaining less than 5 percent
Even as network demand grew, Comcast increased speeds for its most popular Xfinity speed tiers in 2021, including increasing gig speeds to 1.2 gigabits-per-second.
In addition to smart software and virtualization technologies that increase performance and reliability, Comcast took major steps in 2021 toward the next phase of network evolution: 10G.
10G technology will allow Comcast to deliver multi-gigabit upload and download speeds over the connections already in tens of millions of American homes. In 2021, Comcast completed tests of key technologies required to deliver 10G, including a world-first demonstration of a complete 10G connection from network to modem.
“Network investment is important, but the network architects and software engineers across Comcast are also innovating at the speed of software,” said Elad Nafshi, EVP & Chief Network Officer at Comcast Cable. “Our colleagues leading these innovations are creating the future for our customers.”