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How The World Cup Relies On DNS

“The FIFA World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event; an estimated 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany and the 2010 event in South Africa was broadcast to 204 countries on 245 different channels. Inside the stadiums, a total of 3,170,856 spectators attended the 64 matches an average of 49,670 per match and the third highest aggregate attendance behind USA 1994 and Germany 2006.”Fifa

People around the world want to consume a data stream generated at 12 different locations around Brazil. An expert squad of audio visual professionals will be deployed to these stadiums. They will establish their own physical networking infrastructure with which they will broadcast events occurring in Brazil to the UK, USA, Russia, China … The World!

To establish a mental model of the process, I had a few conversations with Dyn’s own Mikel Streadman, a veteran of the live event broadcasting world. The standard operating procedure is to upload all of the content captured by the crews on the ground via a satellite back to home base for editing and distribution. Back at base, stills are selected for web sites, content is seeded to CDNs, etc.

How does this map to the world of Dyn?

In the authoritative DNS space we expect to see an increase in queries for Twitter / social networking properties, advertisers, and CDNs as new recursive DNS resolvers are deployed to prepare for the event.

This will increase the number of servers requesting our customers zones, which increases the volume of queries. The creation of new recursive resolvers also means updates to our recursive maps so we understand who these new recursives are and the answers they should receive.

DNSSECMost of the increased volume will be seen in the recursive layer of the DNS, but there are a few things to consider like DNSSEC. Right now, about 17% of of users in Brazil are doing DNSSEC validation. Thanks to the folks over at APNIC we can look at by AS percentages and how heavily they are shaped by Google Public DNS.

Another interesting dimension to think about is how end users in Brazil may experience the influx local to the event. An estimated 3.7 million people are expected to travel throughout Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Chances are a number of these people will have their mobile devices with them.

How have carriers ( T-Mobile, Orange, AT&T, Vodaphone, etc. ) reconfigured their peering arrangements and network configuration to deal with this influx? Will everyone be able to successfully to resolve DNS traffic locally? Or will a portion of it be back hauled a continent or two away? More importantly for content providers and websites, how could these changes impact the end users experience of their sites?

There appear to be a few hot spots for peering in Brazil. Two of the major players include Terremark (NAP do Brasil) and PTT (Sao Paulo) with some pretty big names as clients:

  • Terremark – NAP do Brasil: A smaller crowd of clients, but lots of big players. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. In total, 39 participants

  • PTT-SP – A hotspot! All of the above clients as well as a collection of others including Netflix, Twitter, MediaMath and more!

This might be of special interest to web performance engineers. Sharding content across a collection of domains helps web performance teams avoid the constraints of a limited number of connections from the browser. Additional domain shards mean the browser can make additional connections to download content more quickly, however it requires additional DNS lookups.

These additional DNS lookups, depending on the last mile of the network, could increase latency and degrade the end user experience. Do you know what your end users’ last mile looks like?

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Chris Baker
Whois: Chris Baker

Chris Baker is a Principal of Threat Intelligence at Oracle Dyn Global Business Unit, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.

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