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Netflix eats 20% peak US internet, some US users download 5 TB a month

A Canadian broadband equipment company, Sandvine has measured internet usage and reckons that Netflix suddenly represents some 20% of downstream inter

By PETER WHITE

Published: 28 October, 2010

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A Canadian broadband equipment company, Sandvine has measured internet usage and reckons that Netflix suddenly represents some 20% of downstream internet traffic in the US, during peak times between 8pm and 10 pm. Added to the Netflix numbers out today, this implies that Netflix streaming is way higher than previously thought.

In September Netflix expanded into Canada with a streaming-only video service on a subscription model. Within a few days of launch in Canada, Sandvine says that Netflix had attained shocking levels of success, and has no doubt caused alarm among the country’s service provider community.

Other conclusions from the latest version of Sandvine’s report, compiled from the usage data on its installed base, show that the Asia-Pacific region monthly data consumption is close to 12 gigabytes per household compared to 4 gigabytes in North America. It also points out that Asian ISPs see internet usage ramp as early as 5 am. But the truth is more complicated than that. On fixed access networks in North America, the median usage is almost exactly 4 gigabytes a month, but the mean is almost 15 gigabytes. Analyzing the data it wasn’t uncommon to encounter users who consistently exceeded 5 terabytes of monthly usage. Finally, the average North American fixed access Internet user is online for almost 97 hours a month. On mobile networks the average is significantly lower, only 23 hours 47 minutes per month.

The report says that real-time entertainment (streamed or buffered real time audio and video) is unquestionably the dominant driver of data consumption on both fixed and mobile networks worldwide. This is still growing astronomically, and has reached 43% of total Internet traffic. Streaming applications which rely on P2P architectures have now achieved worldwide market penetration. In North America real-time entertainment represents 43% of peak period traffic on fixed networks and 41% on mobile networks.

In Europe, web browsing accounts for more data usage than any other category at almost 45% of aggregate bytes during the peak evening hours. BitTorrent is the dominant P2P Filesharing protocol (everywhere except Latin America, where Ares reigns), representing 30% of upstream peak traffic and slightly more than 8% of downstream peak period traffic.

In Europe Sandvine says that zShare has become the dominant leader for storage and back-up services and this alone accounts to 3% of downstream traffic during peak periods across Europe.

Another major driver affecting worldwide Internet behavior is the increased availability of 3G and 4G networks. Internet mobility has become as accessible as fixed line in many regions and subscribers are taking full advantage of the flexibility that converged networks offer.

Internet traffic trends report, entitled “Fall 2010 Global Internet Phenomena”, based on data from cable, DSL and mobile service provider networks, spanning four regions worldwide including, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America.

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