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Netflix Largest Source of NA Downstream Traffic

A new report provided by Sandvine reveals Netflix to be the single largest source of peak downstream Internet traffic in the United States, surpassing YouTube, BitTorrent, iTunes and even Facebook. Out of the top ten applications that account for 84.5-percent of America's downstream traffic, Netflix consumes 29.70-percent, up from 21-percent seen last fall, the report claims.

Naturally the numbers will only progressively get worse, as Netflix can now be accessed through web-enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray players, the three gaming consoles (Wii, PS3, X360), iOS devices and now a handful of Android devices. Netflix is also slated to arrive on the Nintendo 3DS and will likely be integrated into Nintendo's upcoming Project Cafe console and Sony's NGP handheld.

But for now, Netflix is consuming more downstream traffic than HTTP websites which only accounts for a meager 18.36-percent. YouTube's 11.04-percent command of the downstream traffic is surprisingly meager and actually higher than BitTorrent's 10.37-percent. Facebook is towards the bottom of the top ten, consuming 1.91-percent while dominating Hulu's meager 1.09-percent. Surprisingly, BitTorrent downloads only use 10.37-percent but dominates the chart with a hefty 52.01-percent in upstream Internet traffic.

On a whole, Real-Time Entertainment – the term used to encompass services like video and music streaming – accounted for 49.2-percent of downstream traffic in March, 2011. P2P file sharing came in a distant second with 18.8-percent followed by actual web browsing at 16.6-percent. Real-time communications and "bulk entertainment" barely registered on the radar while social networking, gaming and secure tunneling had 9.7-percent of the downstream traffic combined.

In the case of Netflix, CEO Reed Hastings predicted that the numbers would reach this level over ten years ago when he initially started planning for the video streaming service. Thanks to Moore's Law and improvements in bandwidth technology which could be plotted over the years, he saw that homes would have 14 Mb/s connections by 2012. Now he claims that by 2021, every home in America will have a gigabit broadband connection.

As for BitTorrent, it's no wonder why the RIAA, MPAA and other entities are trying to strike fear into the hearts of file-sharers. 52.01-percent in upstream Internet traffic is a huge number, indicating that there are a lot of users uploading video, audio, software and additional digital media to other torrent users. Between BitTorrent and Netflix, it's understandable why ISPs are wanting to throttle traffic or resort to tiered plans.