Peer-to-peer on wane as Netflix, YouTube dominate network traffic

Joseph O'Halloran | 12-11-2013

The enduring threat of peer-to-peer appears to be disappearing as over-the-top (OTT) video services dominate network traffic in the US, according to the latest Internet traffic trends report from Sandvine.

The six-monthly survey from the broadband network solutions provider, Global Internet Phenomena Report 2H2013, tracked fixed and mobile networks around the world and found that for first time ever, peer-to-peer file sharing fell below 10% of total traffic in North America, a stark difference from the 60% share it consumed 11 years ago in the heyday of Napster and other P2P services. Even five years ago it accounted for over 31%.

"Since 2009, on-demand entertainment has consumed more bandwidth than ‘experience later’ applications like peer-to-peer file sharing and we had projected it would inevitably dip below 10% of total traffic by 2015. It's happened much faster,” explained Sandvine CEO Dave Caputo.

The report found that OTT leader Netflix (31.6%) held its ground as the leading downstream application in North America, and together with YouTube (18.6%) accounts for over 50% of downstream traffic on fixed networks. Average monthly mobile usage in Asia-Pacific now exceeds 1GB, driven by video, which accounts for 50% of peak downstream traffic. This is more than double the 443MB monthly average in North America.

In Europe, Netflix, less than two years since launch, now accounts for over 20% of downstream traffic on certain fixed networks in the British Isles. Sandvine noted that took almost four years for Netflix to achieve 20% of data traffic in the United States.