Everyone's going to be tweeting, checking in and streaming, but will London be able to cope?
Hosting the Olympic Games is an expensive task. However, it's also one that brings with it the potential for a lot of profit. With thousands of people and athletes flocking to the games, and an entire world watching, it's a huge opportunity for the United Kingdom and London. London is already doing what it can to ensure the city is ready for the Games (including offering internet at tube stations, for example), but will the city be able to support so many visitors?
Thanks to the advent of smartphones and tablets, most of us know that cell phone networks can get a bit overloaded when there is a large gathering of people in one place. And it seems the Olympic Games really is no different; IT departments will struggle with staff all trying to stream key events from their machines at work, while networks will struggle with serving so many people in one area.
"There is the potential for a massive hit on the infrastructure," James Blessing of Britain's Internet Service Providers Association is quoted by the Associated Press as saying. Vodafone compared this summer's data consumption to England playing in the World Cup final on Christmas Day, every day for the 17 days of the games."
So, will the city's infrastructure be able to handle it? Experts told the AP that it should be fine overall, but that things will likely get sluggish at peak times. ISPs and network providers are bolstering their services in anticipation of overloaded networks but things could still go belly-up if something unexpected happens, such as a British athlete excelling in an obscure sport, or a natural disaster or terrorist attack.