Netflix now generates the most Internet traffic in North America


As predicted, Netflix has become the largest source of Internet traffic in North America, thanks to its streaming video service, according to network solutions firm Sandvine. However, it did not clog or overload the internet (yet), sucking all of the available bandwidth.

Sandvine’s latest report on web trends finds Netflix accounts for 29.7 % of peak downstream traffic, a 44% increase from just six months ago.

Meanwhile, web browsing made up 38.7% of peak traffic in 2009. It now accounts for only 16.6%. Real-time communications still make up a small portion of Internet traffic at 2.9%, down slightly from 2010.

Real-time entertainment apps such as streaming audio and video account for roughly half of peak traffic, up 60% from 2009.

For the 2010 report, within North America Sandvine observed that Real-Time Entertainment is the largest contributor to data consumption on both fixed (43% of peak period traffic) and mobile access (41%) networks. Within that category, Netflix was already a major source of content, accounting for 20% of downstream Internet traffic during peak home (fixed) Internet usage hours in North America–8pm to 10pm. That bested YouTube, iTunes, Hulu, and peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol BitTorrent, which accounts for 8% of bandwidth during peak hours.

RBR-TVBR observation: Who knows how much more bandwidth Netflix, iTunes, YouTube and the like will command from the internet. But it’s looking like the ISPs and internet caretakers are staying one step ahead of the game and will continue to do so. If issues do start to get out of control, you can probably count on the industry to fix it before government(s) would need to step in.