Create communications system that can keep up with soaring internet use

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the internet has become an even more indispensable piece of social infrastructure for work and daily life. A system must be established to stabilize the communication environment and prevent problems.

According to a government survey, about 90% of the population uses the internet. The need to maintain good communication quality can be said to be greater than ever.

With the pancemic, teleworking at companies and online classes at universities have expanded. People have refrained from going out, so the number of people enjoying online services, such as video streaming at home, also increased. The amount of communications traffic in Japan has increased by about 60% from before the spread of infections.

As TV broadcasts are distributed over the internet and the 5G network, a high-speed, high-capacity communication standard, becomes more widespread, the volume of communications is expected to grow further.

Many of the communication networks provided by major telecommunication companies are already high-speed and high-capacity. Since peak transmission volume is seen at night, there have been no major problems so far.

However, at some universities, there have been a large number of students connecting to networks shortly after the start of their online classes, causing system failures and slower communication speeds. There should be no disruption in work or study due to a poor communication environment.

Telecommunication providers, companies and universities need to understand the current status of the systems they manage and respond flexibly by augmenting them according to their usage.

It is becoming more common to minimize the use of high-volume video in online meetings for companies and online classes for universities, and to download materials during times of low traffic. It is important to continue to make such efforts.

Efforts to reduce the load on the communication network are also important. In some cases, transmission volume temporarily surges when the latest version of an online game or a live performance by an idol group is made available.

This fiscal year, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry plans to create a platform for telecommunication companies and content providers to share information on events to be put online.

By sharing this information in advance, it will be possible to avoid distributing things at the same time and give users a heads-up. Individual businesses, including those overseas, should thoroughly implement these measures.

Users should also try to use the internet in accordance with the instructions of the companies and universities they belong to, as well as the recommendations of service providers.

When people find it difficult to connect to the internet from home, many do not know why or what to do. Telecommunication companies must make efforts to expand their contact points for inquiries and provide relevant information.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on April 11, 2021.