Networking firm Sandvine has released a new report detailing Internet traffic trends, and usage is way up overall. In the past year, the average monthly data usage for North American broadband customers has ballooned from 23GB to 51GB, an increase of 120%. About 19GB of that surge came in just the past six months. During that period, BitTorrent traffic increased by a sizable 40%. The file sharing service is responsible for 37% of all upstream traffic during peak periods, a figure that's more than three times higher than the next-closest traffic source.
While it dominates upstream traffic, BitTorrent is a comparatively small player overall. It's responsible for just 10% of aggregate traffic during peak hours, less than HTTP at 12%, YouTube at 13%, and Netflix at 29%. Netflix dominates the downstream results with a 33% share of traffic that's more than double YouTube's take and much higher than BitTorrent's measly 6%.
Downstream traffic was 5.6 times higher than upstream traffic overall, which explains BitTorrent's relatively small share of total Internet usage. Interestingly, the top 1% of users make up 39% of all upstream traffic but only 13% of downloads. The bottom 50% of Internet users is responsible for just 5% of overall network traffic.
I wish Sandvine included more historical data, but it looks like legitimate streaming services like Netflix and YouTube are growing at faster rates than peer-to-peer sharing, at least in terms of overall data usage. There's more data for other regions and mobile usage in the full report, which requires free registration. Thanks to TorrentFreak for the tip.