A pair of recent studies suggests that for the first time in years, HTTP traffic consumes more network bandwidth than P2P file-sharing does, and that video sharing services are to blame.
It’s no secret that P2P users have long consumed the lions share of a given ISP network’s bandwidth but, with the rise in popularity of video sharing services such as YouTube, Google Video, Joost, Daily Motion, Guba, and others, it’s percentage has fallen.
Ellacoya Networks Inc., in its survey of some 2 million broadband customers, discovered that HTTP traffic is now responsible for 39% of a network’s bandwidth usage, compared to 37% for P2P traffic.
“We saw an obvious rise in overall Web traffic and a rise in HTTP video streaming as a second aspect,” says Fred Sammartino, Ellacoya’s VP of marketing. “Video trumps everything because it is ten times or a hundred times bigger than images.”
Not surprisingly, it also found that BitTorrent is still the dominant type of P2P file-sharing program being used in North America.
The other study was conducted was by Sandovine Inc., and it also found results that similarly pointed out that the volume of P2P traffic had been overtaken by HTTP traffic.
In a survey of some 2.7 million people, it was found that P2P traffic was responsible for some 36% of network bandwidth usage compared to HTTP’s 38%.
Users of BitTorrent and other P2P file-sharing programs have long been blamed for consuming an inordinate amount of network bandwidth but, this study hints at what the future may hold for the merit of that criticism.
Ellicoya’s data suggests that a mere 5% of users are responsible for some 45.3% of overall. network traffic.Now presumably these people are using BitTorrent to share files, thus making their use of network bandwidth as efficient as possible.
The rest of the network users, on the other hand, seem to be sharing and streaming video files in a way that adds an unnecessary burden on the available bandwidth and could mean trouble for users as a whole if the issue is not addressed.
Instead of getting data from peers, users maintain a persistent strain on the network by having to access, watch, or transfer video via the central, managed servers of a given video sharing service.
If a way is not found to use the available network bandwidth more efficiently, i.e. using the BitTorrent protocol for instance, then the video streaming and sharing experience will be degraded for everyone.
As video sharing sites like YouTube and Google Video rise in popularity the problem will only worsen and have to be addressed eventually. Let’s only hope it’s sooner rather than later.
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