With Inauguration Day finally upon us, mobile phone operators across the US are preparing for what could be a bigger test of capacity than the traditional biggest strain on the mobile network, New Year's Eve. Hopefully the months of hard work, involving adding capacity and prepping networks to cope with the upsurge of voice, text and MMS traffic, will pay off and you will not find your self without coverage later on. Obviously, the Washington DC area is expected to take the brunt of the surge, so if you happen to be there here is some industry advice:
Send a text, it stands a better chance of getting through than voice when networks are congested. Don't send photos using MMS as this soaks up bandwidth, save them for later when you are out of the area and when things have calmed down. Same goes for video, but with knobs on!
Internet Service Providers do not expect any problems despite the equally huge upswing that will start hitting news sites in just a few short hours. Some are admitting there could be a little jittery video during the crucial swearing in moments, but no national or regional outages are expected. This despite the fact that the amount of video traffic is likely to break all records for a single day. Not surprising, given that you have collaborations between the likes of CNN and Facebook which sees multiple video cameras in Washington covering all kinds of events and enables Facebook users to share video and images with friends after adding their own comments. Not surprising, considering numerous news sites are actively encouraging viewers to submit their own video footage of the inauguration celebrations via the Internet.
It will be interesting to see if, during the magic hour that covers the oath of office and inaugural address, records for the number of wired and wireless devices connecting to the Internet are smashed as expected. Although precisely how this can be measured with any degree of accuracy escapes me right now. One thing is for sure though, following an Internet led campaign there is no doubting that the first 'Internet President' will take centre stage on laptops, desktops and ObamaPhones around the world later today.
Unfortunately, the Obama spammers have already jumped on the bandwagon. Thankfully, I suspect their twisted messages of doom will be drowned out by the overwhelmingly joyful ones that are dominating network traffic today.