What’s on the Internet?

The InternetTwice a year Sandvine issues a report on the state of the Internet. Sandvine sells internet tools and is the leader in network policy control, selling products that help carriers with things like peer-to-peer caching and stateful traffic redirection. As usual the Sandvine report is interesting reading.

One of their more interesting observations this year is that they are seeing a leveling off of total Internet traffic in North America. This is a very different story than is told by Cisco and other companies that have continued to project double digit growth in traffic volumes. Sandvine is not sure if what they are seeing is an anomaly and they are looking forward to their next set of measurements to see if this is a trend or a one-time phenomenon.

One of the more interesting things that Sandvine reports is the components that make up web traffic in the US. They look at both landline and wireless web traffic and, as you would expect, the usage is very different for these two segments of the market.

Following is Sandvine’s list of the top usage for fixed access usage for North America. It’s obvious that downstream traffic is largely used for entertainment. Netflix and YouTube now account together for over 50% of the downloading on the web. But then there are iTunes, Amazon video, Facebook and Hulu. Uploading to the web is a different story and BitTorrent accounts for over 36% of uploads, but only 4% of downloads (demonstrating how much larger the download stream is).

Upstream Downstream
Rank Application PCT Application PCT
1 BitTorrent 36.35% Netflix 31.62%
2 HTTP 6.03% YouTube 18.69%
3 SSL 5.87% HTTP 9.74%
4 Netflix 4.44% BitTorrent 4.05%
5 YouTube 3.63% iTunes 3.27%
6 Skype 2.76% MPEG – Other 2.60%
7 QVoD 2.55% SSL 2.05%
8 Facebook 1.54% Amazon Video 1.61%
9 Facetime 1.44% Facebook 1.31%
10 DropBox 1.39% Hulu 1.29%

North American mobile access shows a very different story. It’s obvious that people are not using cell phones to watch video content, at least to the extent that they do with landline connections. This is certainly a function of the caps on many wireless data plans as well as a reluctance to watch content on a small screen. But with that said, the two largest sources of mobile data download usage are YouTube and Facebook. Much smaller than those two are things like Netflix, Pandora radio, Instagram and iTunes.

Upstream Downstream
Rank Application PCT Application PCT
1 Facebook 20.62% YouTube 17.69%
2 YouTube 13.20% Facebook 15.44%
3 HTTP 12.64% HTTP 14.07%
4 SSL 11.11% MPEG – Other 7.92%
5 Pandora Radio 5.19% SSL 7.84%
6 MPEG – Other 5.11% Google Market 5.99%
7 Google Market 4.95% Pandora Radio 5.03%
8 Instagram 3.52% Netflix 5.01%
9 Netflix 2.19% Instagram 3.53%
10 iTunes 1.59% iTunes 3.16%

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