How Windows 10 can affect the internet

October 12 2015 By Posted in Expertise

The arrival of a new Microsoft operating system is always an event. The arrival of Windows 10, particularly because of its means of distribution, has attracted a lot of attention. This is the occasion, a little over a month after its release, to take stock of what we observed.

First of all, the distribution tactic that Microsoft chose for Windows 10 is fairly new because it us a distribution via Windows Update. Even if it is true that this approach simplifies setup of a new system later on, it generates a surprise effect for web users whose internet plans get stuck because this unsolicited download (between 3 GB and 6 GB) as the French IT newspaper, Le Monde Informatique, recounts.

Furthermore we mentioned in an earlier article that the US software giant had “reserved” an extraordinary level of network capacity to ensure comfortable distribution of the new OS.

 

Windows 10 market share at present

The RUM BI measurement system makes it possible to assess the number of web users who are using a given OS, including Windows operating systems.

The chart below displays the trend from July 20th (the official release date of Windows 10 was July 29th) and September 15th. At present, Windows 10 accounts for 14% of hits within out systems and within the space of a month has become the third most used Microsoft OS after Windows 7 (46%) and Windows 8.1 (23%). Following this strong interest in adopting Windows 10, the trend still tends toward its adoption but less quickly than in the 3 first weeks following its release.

 

windows10_trend

 

How Windows 10 can affect the internet

And finally, what impact will this release have on global internet? First of all, it would appear that Microsoft had anticipated the release by increasing its network capacities on the main French exchange point, France-IX, on August 1st, rising from 20 Gbit/s to 40 Gbit/s, and then on August 29th rising from 40 Gbit/s to 60 Gbit/s (source Lafibre.info).

It is difficult to estimate the global impact on internet performance. Nevertheless we have observed a number of trends:

  • File downloads from international sites saw a significant rise – around 50% – in downloading time until the day Windows 10 was officially released. Could that have been related to ‘preparations’ for the distribution of the OS?
Windows10_EN

 

  • Unusual behavior was observed at the same time in the performance of Microsoft’s site, usually served by a CDN, for a similar period. The chart below shows that the difference occurs at the level of the time it takes to receive the page body (first GET). Here, too, we can assume a change in how the site is distributed.

 

windows_10_timing_EN

 

We believe that there is a relation between these two phenomena and that to prepare for the release of the upgrade, changes were made to the way traffic is handled (routing, shaping, or other).

In conclusion

The data we were able to collect tend to demonstrate that Windows 10 had a real impact on the internet, an impact which may be related to preparations for the release of a system that weighs in at no less than 3 GB to 6 GB.

We may all be wondering, as long as the distribution of Windows 10 still underway, how this is affecting the state of networks at present. We will keep watching this brand new phenomenon attentively, and report back on our findings in the near future.

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