Sunday evening - the new web rush hour

Barry Collins
8 Jan 2009

Few will be surprised by the new Ofcom research that reveals actual broadband speeds are less than half of those advertised by the ISPs

But the one big shock to come out of the detailed research is that the peak rush hour, when average web speeds slow to a crawl, is in fact Sunday between 5pm and 6pm, as we can see from the graph below. 


Most people are well aware that broadband access slows on weekday evenings, as people come home from work and connections start suffering as a result of contention. But you would have thought that Sundays, when most people generally have all day off to surf, would have shown a much more even distribution. Perhaps it's the endless teatime repeats of Last of the Summer Wine that are driving people online?

The research throws up other interesting daytime trends:

"On weekdays, there is a sharp decline in speeds between 3pm and 4pm (school finishing time) followed by a levelling-off between 6pm and 7pm, which can perhaps be attributed to people leaving their computers for dinner (a similar resurgence in speed is seen on Sunday evening at the same time). During weekday evenings, speeds are slowest between 9pm and 10pm, suggesting that this is when most people are using the internet.

"Saturday evenings exhibit their low point around 6pm and speeds then increase in for the rest of the evening. Again, this can probably be attributed to people spending their Saturday evenings away from their computers."

So what is the best time to venture online for maximum download speeds? Between 4am and 7am. I think I can live with the extra five minutes it takes to download Gavin and Stacey.

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