FLASH CROWD: media stimulated simultaneous usage event

Unless you've been off-planet, I think most people in the US are aware
Star Wars tickets go on sale on Wednesday May 12 at 3pm EDT via phone,
web, and box office. Some folks may remember a few years ago when Garth
Brooks tickets went on sale in Washington DC, and the local phone system
was overwhelmed for most of the day. And during the Gulf War the Pepsi
Company was requested not to run a contest during the Superbowl involving
a 1-800 number. I happen to be in DC for an ATIS meeting, so it should
be interesting to see how many telco-types are beeped out of the meeting
during the day tomorrow.

I've been checking around, and found in most cities the movie theatre
tickets-by-phone numbers are not on the local "choke" exchange. Instead
they are dispersed on whatever exchange the theatre happens to located.
This may not be a problem in cities with modern switches, because they can
program full-10-digit "chokes." National 1-800 service (SCP/STP) may
be hit by a large number of call-attempts, and re-dials as people try
to get through. The "redial" button is an evil invention as far as
telephone switch design is concerned. Local PBX's of companies with
a lot employees interested in the movie may also experience overloading.

Due to the way the Internet traffic fans out (see the CAIDA maps), I
would expect only localized hot spots near the tickets-by-web sites.
The Internet doesn't have centralized control points like SCP/STP's, so
Internet users should be unaffected except for those particular ticket
web servers and possibly those sharing the same subnet or same last router
as the ticket web servers.

NOC managers may want to keep this event in mind if they need to reach
other NOCs tomorrow afternoon, or if they need to call in their own
engineers if something happens. You may need to use alternate contact
methods to reach them.

On the other hand, perhaps the American public has reached the hype
saturation point, and nobody will buy tickets tomorrow.