ISPs Report Record Video Traffic During Inauguration

UPDATED: The Obama inauguration was the most viewed live video event in Internet history. CNN.com broke its old record of 5.3 million live video streams, set on election night in 2008, by serving up more than 25 million live video streams globally, CNN says. Akamai, which has about 2,800 enterprise customers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Viacom Web sites, reports a peak of 7 million active simultaneous streams at the coverage's zenith.

News organizations, content delivery networks and ISPs reported record streaming video viewership Jan. 20 following the television broadcast and subsequent Webcasting of the inauguration of Sen. Barack Obama as the new president of the United States.
CNN.com shattered its old record of 5.3 million live video streams-set on election night, Nov. 4, 2008-before the actual swearing-in ceremony even took place.
It served up about 8 million by 10 a.m., 14 million by 11:45 a.m. and 18.8 million by 1 p.m., 45 minutes after the recitation of the oath of office. The final 12-hour total was 25 million video streams served between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., CNN spokesperson Jennifer Martin told eWEEK.

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Akamai, a CDN for about 2,800 enterprise customers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Viacom Web sites, reported it delivered a peak of about 7 million active simultaneous streams at approximately 12:15 p.m. ET on Jan. 20.
Most of those streams were live, Jeff Young, Akamai's director of corporate communications, told eWEEK. It was the highest number of simultaneous streams the CDN has ever recorded, Young said.

A graphical representation of the day's Internet news traffic running in Akamai data centers can be found here.
On the evening of Nov. 4, 2008, following the election of Obama to the presidency, Akamai recorded a record 8.57 million visitors per minute to its sites. Never before had the CDN recorded as many as 7 million video streams at one time, the company said.
"We were getting millions of people logging in and staying logged in to watch the streaming video," Young said. "That's quite a different audience from that of people coming in and out of the site, looking for updates and checking out different categories, as they did on Election Night."
12 million Web requests per second
Akamai also said its servers handled more than 12 million requests per second at the peak of the demand, which was between 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. ET.
Jan. 20 also was a single-day peak on the Akamai EdgePlatform for concurrent live streams utilizing Adobe Flash video, with more than 800G bps of streaming Flash video served up. Total traffic on the Akamai network surpassed a rate of more than 2T bps at approximately 12:15 p.m. ET. EdgePlatform is Akamai's front-line Web-serving software package.

"To our knowledge, there were no major technical issues today. It [Internet service] is going to vary a bit from customer to customer, depending upon the economics of each agreement," Young said. "There may have been some reports of latency, but that can depend on a lot of factors."

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...