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Published Friday 10 Sep 2021


With the most of the country moving to Level 2, traffic levels on the Chorus network have dropped away from the all-time highs seen during Level 4, but in the process, we can see in sharp relief a couple of interesting factors that define our COVID working lives.

 

Chorus’ network provides around 70% of the fixed-line traffic capacity for New Zealand and it’s easy to see the difference between pre-lockdown traffic on a typical day (the green line below) and the different usage at different lockdown levels.

Level 4, the most restrictive, sees by far the most traffic in Auckland out the rest of New Zealand, but when those in the rest of New Zealand move to Level 2, usage drops almost back to normal levels. Indeed, just after 8am it’s easy to see the dip as presumably the kids log off the home network and set off for a full day’s learning at school.

When the kids go to school, the parents can then go into the office, and while many offices are still closed or working to a staggered roster scheme (very sensibly) usage throughout the day remains relatively low for the areas outside Auckland.

Auckland usage remains high throughout, of course, with both students and parents all at home maxing out that connection with work and study but also the odd bout of high-definition video, binge watching and similar activities.

Looking at the upload data (below) it’s very easy to see what happens at the top of every hour during the working day. Zoom meetings kick off and the sudden spike in upload traffic from all those webcams kicking into gear show up no matter what alert level we’re in.

What is interesting to me at least is the dip in meetings over lunch – with 1pm being a low point no matter which level of lockdown we’re in. Could it be we all hold all calls while we watch the COVID announcement press briefing? It’s entirely possible. Woe betide those who book meetings during the COVID stand up.

It’s also clear to see the meeting spikes tail off in the afternoon – something that is definitely required both in Level 2 and Level 4.

I like to think the fleeting, almost invisible flurry of activity at around 5pm is a series of team sessions where we all debrief on the day we’ve had, drinks an optional extra of course.

Paul is the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum's CEO.