How many of you were lucky enough to be sent home from work because of the snow? I think I was almost as excited as the students to be told that we could pack up and go home for the rest of the day. To be honest, I hadn’t managed to get an awful lot done in lessons as the main focus of everyone’s attention seemed to be what was going on outside the windows.
No matter what happens in our daily lives, we expect the internet to be working and we automatically assume that websites will be there when we need them. But for many people who woke up yesterday to see a blanket of snow this wasn’t the case. They did exactly what you would expect, they tried to check the travel websites to find out about road conditions and see if public transport was running. However, when they most needed the information, many found that it wasn’t available as websites started crashing.
National Rail Enquiries said that website hits were up 800% compared to a normal Monday morning. At its height, more than 32,000 users were trying to access pages every second. National Rail Enquiries were lucky, although their site was running more slowly than normal, it did remain available. However, many other sites, for example, Transport for London (TfL) weren’t able to cope and they crashed under the abnormally heavy demand.
Websites weren’t the only casualty of the snow, mobile phone networks also buckled under the strain from the sheer volume of calls as people tried to contact family, friends and work colleagues. Many reported problems making calls due to network congestion. T-Mobile said that there were 73% more calls than normal during the morning.
As many people decided to stay at home rather than travel in the hazardous conditions there was also an increase of 20% in the demand for broadband.
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