Netflix Accounts for 33% of Peak Period Internet Traffic in US

On Wednesday, Sandvine released its latest Internet traffic trends report, "Global Internet Phenomena Report: 2H 2012", based on information gathered over a one-month period from a selection of Sandvine’s 200-plus customers spanning North America, Europe, the Middle East and more. The report claims that mean monthly internet data usage on North American fixed line networks has jumped 120-percent over the past year, increasing from 23 GB to 51 GB.

"There is only one digital network being built today and that is the Internet," said Dave Caputo, CEO, Sandvine.  "With a 120-percent growth rate there is no doubt that more communications service providers will be launching application-based pricing plans that provide cost certainty and a consistent quality of experience for high-demand applications. Understanding the application make-up of a network is a critical first step in launching new services."

Netflix is reportedly one of the biggest data hogs, accounting for 33-percent of peak period downstream traffic on North American fixed networks. Trailing behind the popular subscription service is Amazon with 1.8-percent of peak period downstream traffic, Hulu with 1.4-percent, and HBO Go with 0.5-percent. Over in Europe, YouTube is the biggest culprit, accounting for more than 20-percent of peak period downstream traffic on mobile networks.

"Audio and video streaming account for 65-percent of all downstream traffic from 9pm-12am and half of that is Netflix traffic [on North America fixed networks]," Caputo said. "Prioritizing real-time applications like live audio and video is critical to maintaining a high quality of experience.  Sandvine’s video quality metrics, including display and transport quality, will be key to understanding the impact of major events like the 2014 World Cup which will likely be the most streamed event in Internet history."

The report goes on to reveal that P2P file sharing via BitTorrent continues on a steady decline, accounting for 16-percent of total traffic in Europe and 12-percent in North America. In Asia-Pacific, where there are fewer paid over-the-top video services available, BitTorrent accounts for a hefty 36-percent of total traffic, the company said in the report.

Why the decline in file sharing? Threats made by ISPs and content owners could be part of the reason, but Caputo points to the rise in on-demand real-time entertainment services which will likely continue to help shrink BitTorrent usage down to less than 10-percent of the total traffic by the end of 2015.

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