8 May 2020

Helping schools to move to e-learning – a case study from the UAE

The Covid-19 situation has had a big impact on the education sector, with more and more schools and universities around the world turning to virtual learning options.

In the UAE, the government decided to move all education to home, supported by digital services, in March. UAE-IX – the Internet Exchange in Dubai powered DE-CIX – got a request from Microsoft to upgrade their port from 40G to 200G in order to support the online educational activities.

Upgrade ready within just a few days

We just had a few working days to get the contractual agreement and order sorted and to do the actual upgrade. Together with our partners ­– even with the Covid-19 restrictions – we managed to complete the project in record time, ready for the official start of home schooling without any delays.

There are almost 1.1 million pupils in the UAE and they receive tasks and instructions through videos, instructional materials as well as through interactive virtual lessons. This has obviously had an impact on the UAE-IX traffic numbers.

Record traffic at UAE-IX

In addition to e-learning, businesses have also adopted remote working in the UAE. People spend more time at home which translates to increased content consumption and more time for online gaming. Peak traffic has increased by 40 percent, collaboration tools and gaming data traffic by 100 percent, and streaming traffic by 50 percent. UAE-IX reached a new all-time peak more than 170 Gbit/s in March. The result has been that our peering partners at UAE-IX have increased capacity by up to 400 percent to support growing user demand.