Virgin Media feels strain from Warzone, teams with TIP for Dublin Wi-Fi

Comms provider sees busiest day on record for UK data consumption, and teams with local authority in Irish capital to trial open, disaggregated Wi-Fi network with goal to provide city centre with free wireless internet access

Virgin Media has revealed the demands being put on wired and wireless networks as UK gamers got going with the latest release of Warzone, and has revealed it is working with Dublin City Council to trial a WiFi4EU-compliant network using OpenWiFi service Telecom Infra Project (TIP).

The latest version of Call of Duty’s hugely popular Battle Royale mode was made available for preload in the UK from Monday 14 November, but it was in the early hours of Wednesday 16 November that gamers got ready for the big launch.

Usage of Virgin Media O2’s broadband network continued to spike, with traffic up 103% between 3am and 8am compared with the average Wednesday. The day was also the heaviest gaming day on record, with downstream traffic peaking at 21Tbps and a massive 138 petabytes (PB) of data downloaded overall – the equivalent of streaming 41.5 billion songs or downloading 2.7 million AAA games.

Comparing Warzone 2.0 with recent Call of Duty releases and updates, the network traffic peak seen on the Wednesday morning was 33% higher than the most recent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II update on Friday 4 November. Warzone 2.0 also outperformed the original Warzone, which launched on 10 March 2020, with downstream volume (the amount of data downloaded or consumed) increasing by 76%.

As well as holding the gaming record, Wednesday's appetite to download Warzone 2.0 made it the second busiest day in the history of Virgin Media O2’s broadband network, falling just shy of 19 October 2022, when Amazon Prime Video simultaneously streamed five live Premier League games.

Meanwhile in the world of wireless, Dublin City Council, Ireland, supported by Virgin Media Business, the city’s internet service provider, is installing Wi-Fi 6 Access Points that are compliant with TIP OpenWiFi as a trial of open, disaggregated services for potential use in the city’s public Wi-Fi network.

The greater metropolitan area of Dublin has a population of about 2.02 million, which is expected to grow to 2.2 million by 2031. It houses 30% of the Republic of Ireland’s working population and attracts more than 6.6 million overseas visitors a year.

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A successful proof-of-concept trial of the OpenRoaming standard from the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) was concluded in June 2022.

A TIP OpenWiFi network can also support OpenRoaming, with no change in hardware or software, and OpenWiFi is compliant with the technical requirements of the European Commission’s WiFi4EU initiative, the benchmark for public Wi-Fi deployments in Europe.

WiFi4EU promotes free access to Wi-Fi connectivity for citizens in public spaces including parks, squares, public buildings, libraries, health centres and museums in municipalities throughout Europe. Municipalities receive a voucher that pays for the network, including maintenance of the equipment to offer free and high-quality Wi-Fi connectivity for at least three years. Dublin’s WiFi4EU Wi-Fi network will be free and available throughout its city centre. 

Virgin Media regards OpenWiFi as ideal for publicly sponsored urban Wi-Fi deployments, allowing the selection of the most appropriate service based on use case rather than a single supplier’s products, and facilitating the independent replacement and upgrading of components, and is compatible with municipalities' procurement needs for supplier diversity and state-of-the-art technologies.

Dublin City Council’s public Wi-Fi trials are using TIP OpenWiFi-compliant products, and software including a cloud-based controller from NetExperience and access points from Edgecore and HFCL.

“A smart city is built around collaboration and openness,” said Jamie Cudden, smart city program manager for Dublin City Council. “We are delighted to be trialing Wi-Fi options that are built with an open source architecture that enables multi-vendor interoperability.” 

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