Test and Measurement: AT&T, Verizon’s latest COVID-19 impact updates
Voice calls and virtual private network use continue to be far higher than usual, as people across the country navigate teleworking, distance learning and staying in touch with each other during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Verizon and AT&T are providing multiple weekly updates on trends in network traffic as COVID-19 spreads through the U.S., prompting statewide or county-wide stay-at-home orders in some places, the shutdown of non-essential businesses and closings of schools and colleges.
AT&T reported on Wednesday that wireless voice minutes of use were up 30% compared to an average Wednesday, with Wi-Fi calling minutes 93% higher than average. Home voice calling minutes for consumers was 51% higher than a typical Wednesday.
The carrier said that overall, its core network traffic, inclusive of business, home broadband and wireless use, was up 21% from the same day last moth. AT&T said that it has eight portable cell sites in operation and has deployed 18 to boost coverage for its FirstNet customers.
Meanwhile, Verizon reported yesterday that week over week, it has seen a 47% increase in the use of collaboration tools on its networks, with a sharp drop during the weekends that indicates “they are being used primarily for remote work and online learning.”
Virtual private network use is up 52% over typical daily usage, with a 9% increase in the past week compared to the previous week.
More people are staying in place, as reflected by the fact that Verizon’s mobile network handoffs between cell sites were down 27% compared to a typical week. The carrier is seeing an average of nine billion texts sent per day, and an average of 800 million wireless calls on the weekdays—which it noted is nearly twice the call volume of Mother’s Day, typically a high-water mark for voice calls. Call durations are also up 33% compared to a typical day, Verizon added.
In other test news:
–Viavi Solutions launched a new offering, Observer 18, for network performance optimization aimed at supporting the increase in remote work and learning, and the related security needs.
“As employees and users increasingly work away from the office, school campus, or hospital, NetOps and SecOps teams face twin challenges: optimize performance of the network even when that network can physically be located anywhere, while protecting against security threats, especially when those threats are taking advantage of atypical operating procedures,” Viavi said, adding that it designed Observer 18 to address these requirements and resolve issues faster regardless of where network end-users are.
“As enterprise workforces and users become more distributed, and rely on applications located in multiple clouds, the resulting any-to-any networking model is susceptible to performance and security challenges,” said Charles Thompson, senior director for enterprise and cloud at Viavi. “Observer 18 empowers stakeholders from business leaders to level 3 support with customizable, streamlined workflows and intuitive visualizations, based on the most complete data set available. When they take control, they can guarantee that both work and learning can happen, wherever it needs to happen.”
–Accedian has added “significant” new visibility capabilities to its cloud-native Skylight performance monitoring and analytics platform, for “increased performance visibility across application, cloud, and network infrastructure in a unified view.” The release combines what Accedian described as full stack end user experience visibility, with “deep passive and active network infrastructure insights.”
“Enterprises are moving applications to the cloud faster than ever before but they struggle with visibility into complex, multi-tier applications. We are proud of the advances we have made to help our customers overcome these challenges by delivering the industry’s first unified network tool that provides both active and passive insights at this level of granularity and scale,” said Tom Foottit, VP of product management for Accedian, in a statement.
–National Instruments is responding to the need for social-distancing measures by making its online training courses free through at least April 30 — not just for NI customers, it added, but for engineers around the world. NI says it’s also rolling out new, virtual instructor-led classes at lower cost than its usual regional in-person classroom offerings.
–Anritsu unveiled what it says is “the first instrument to perform true [passive intermodulation]analysis over fiber and present [radio frequency]spectrum results derived from IQ data.” The new IQ Fiber Master MT2780A is a multi-port CPRI-based RF and PIM analyzer in a single instrument designed to conduct both RF interference measurements and PIM troubleshooting on LTE-based systems that use Common Public Radio Interface-based fronthaul, the test company said.
–Keysight Technologies said this week that testing specialist Dekra will use Keysight products to certify 5G New Radio and vehicle-to-everything devices. According to Keysight, select Dekra labs will be using the Keysight’s 5G network emulation tools for 5G conformance and regulatory testing in both conducted and radiated test scenarios across both sub-6 GHz and millimeter-wave frequencies, including specific testing for devices related to electromagnetic compatibility and specific absorption rate as well as for Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC).
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