UPDATE. I noted below – citing a report by Multichannel News on the latest Sandvine traffic data – that streaming video is now the primary driver of network capacity requirements, a reflection of the gradual decline of P2P traffic relative to overall consumer traffic on the Internet. The Sandvine study, the company’s Global Internet Phenomena Report for fall 2011, contains fascinating revelations about just how quickly Internet traffic patterns are changing (pdf here). Two points. First, from a business perspective, the emerging problem for ISPs isn’t congestion of the old-fashioned kind, the one which formed the basis for the CRTC’s ITMP framework. Second, from a technical perspective, traffic flows present new challenges for network engineering in the local access cloud.
Take a look at these big-picture numbers from Sandvine (pdf, p.2):
The four largest Internet services on North America’s fixed access networks, by daily downstream volume, are:
• Netflix – 27.6%
• HTTP – 17.8%
• YouTube – 10.0%
• BitTorrent – 9.0%
Although BitTorrent traffic as identified here would not account for all P2P transmissions, the lead now established by Netflix is still jaw-dropping. And jaw-dropping by comparison with Web traffic (which seems likely to be eclipsed more and more by the use of apps and other highly specialized platforms, as I discuss briefly in the previous post). Then things get curiouser… Continue reading