To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Windows 10 downloads to slow down the entire internet

Windows 10 upgrade

Expert warns of huge strain on internet as Windows 10 upgrade surge begins

The rush to download Windows 10 will create “easily the largest day/week of traffic ever on the internet”, according to an industry expert. Windows 10 is available for download today, with millions of machines all set to automatically or manually download the 3GB file, which is a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 and 8.1. 

Microsoft has been preparing for the crush by buying capacity with so-called content distribution networks (CDNs), which effectively host files geographically closer to the user, meaning the data doesn’t have to travel so far. Microsoft has reserved space with leading CDNs such as Akamai, Level 3 and EdgeCast, according to Dan Rayburn from the Streaming Media blog.  “Based on the numbers I am hearing from multiple sources, Microsoft has reserved up to 40Tb/sec of capacity from all of the the third-party CDNs combined,” writes Rayburn.

Everything you need to know about Windows 10

That still won’t be enough to prevent a general slow down of internet traffic, however. “Some of Apple’s recent largest live events on the web have peaked at 8Tb/sec,” said Rayburn. “Windows 10 is expected to be five times that and will easily be the largest day/week of traffic ever on the internet. QoS [quality of service] problems are to be expected, especially since all of the CDNs will be rate limiting the delivery of the 3GB download and many ISPs will max out interconnection capacity in certain cities.”

“Unless Windows 10 is a complete flop and people don’t upgrade as quickly as Microsoft expects, Windows 10 is going to create some serious havoc with regards to the user experience. Expect to see some download times in the days, not hours, especially if any other content owners happen to have larger than expected traffic at the same time,” he adds. “Quality of service for downloads could deteriorate really quickly and remain poor for days, if not longer.”

Rayburn reports that Windows 10 traffic is “already massive”, despite only going live at 5am BST, “with traffic over 10TB/sec.”

Windows 7 and 8.1 users will have at least a year to qualify for the free upgrade, so there’s no particular need to rush to download it on the first day, although the OS may already be downloading the background if you’ve reserved your copy of Windows 10.

Read more