The Olympics have only just begun, but we’ve already seen several technological issues surface. Perhaps the biggest mishap occurred yesterday when viewers experienced failed coverage of the cycling event.
What exactly happened? Interestingly, the Olympic committee organizers are blaming crowds of Internet-hungry attendees for failed television coverage. Due to the overload of fans’ text messages, tweets, and status updates during the race – the wireless network crashed. To top it off, the Olympic committee is asking attendees not to use their phones during the events.
As covered by Tom Cheredar of VentureBeat:
“‘From my understanding, One network was oversubscribed, and OBS (Olympic Broadcasting Services) are trying to spread the load to other providers,’ IOC Communications Director Mark Adams told The Guardian. ‘We don’t want to stop people engaging in this by social media but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates.’
Regardless of how it happened, I think it’s pretty much impossible to tell a crowd of excited sports fans to stop communicating with friends not at the event.
The network failure, however, isn’t a complete shock. U.K communications regulatory body Ofcom predicted that mobile data usage would double during the games, and previously said it was rolling out a plan to ensure sufficient spectrum was available deal with any congestion. But obviously, they didn’t do nearly enough.”
The bottom line is you can’t ask attendees not to access the Internet during the events. Not only is it impossible, but also cruel to our tech-savvy population. Instead, any bottlenecks needs to be found and taken care of. Obviously, it is hard to plan for these real world crashes. They occur randomly and unexpectedly. This is why a plan simply isn’t enough. The best practice in preparing for a global event like the Olympics, is to load test in-the-wild to see how all wireless networks will hold up under pressure.
There are two weeks of Olympic Games left, and hopefully the Olympic IT crew can quickly load test and resolve any problems.