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September 1, 2017 by Andrew Peterson

How Eclipses and (Calix) Clouds come together

Like many people in a wide swath of the country last Monday, I found myself outside on the patio at around 2:30 Eastern in the afternoon staring at the eclipsing sun. I remember being in grade school the last time North America experienced a significant eclipse in 1984. We all went outside with our pinhole cameras and Snoopy lunchboxes to experience a rare celestial event.

As I tried to relate my childhood experience to my own kids, it struck me how dramatically our shared experiences have changed in the span of a generation. For days leading up to the event, I saw friends posting their travel plans on Facebook and Instagram, and saw some of their amazing photos taken during totality in nearby states.

It’s been widely reported that services like Netflix saw a 10 percent drop in traffic during the eclipse, but to me, the more impressive stats come from services like Instagram and Facebook where people were eager to share their experience.

Network Data

One of our Calix Cloud customers located in the path of totality saw some remarkable effects on August 21, 2017:

  • Traffic was 6 percent higher than a typical Monday, probably due to additional people being in the area or staying home from work and school.
  • All morning, general web traffic was much higher than normal – I’d imagine from people checking news sites and interactive maps.
  • During the peak hour, downstream traffic saw a 38 percent decrease from its normal trend as people put their phones down and their glasses on!
  • At the peak, upstream traffic was 4.5x higher than a normal Monday! Everything from iCloud/iMessage, Facebook, YouTube, and services like Periscope, saw increased traffic.

I’ll admit I contributed to this flood of traffic on my own home network, sending photos of my kids wearing their stylish glasses to their grandparents. The way we share our experiences has changed drastically in the past few decades. I can’t wait to see what it’ll be like in 2024!