Just how big is Netflix right now? Pretty darn big, if you believe the results of a study by “intelligent broadband” solutions provider Sandvine. During peak times, its streaming service accounts for a staggering 29.7 percent of all downstream Internet traffic, Sandvine says.
By itself, Netflix exceeds traffic for P2P file sharing, Web browsing, and real-time communications. By specific source, it far outpaces BitTorrent (at 11 percent) and YouTube (10 percent). Guess Comcast was throttling the wrong technology, eh?
Put that in perspective — that means one out of every four packets headed to an Internet user’s computer is delivering Netflix content, a pretty stunning ratio. It also is the biggest contributor to all real-time entertainment traffic, which is about half of all downstream data being delivered.
Could Netflix be ready to become the iTunes of streaming? I think so–and it may be all the more reason why Apple may want to throw its own hat into the ring.
With ISPs moving lately towards bandwidth caps, I wonder how much longer this growth in traffic from Netflix will be allowed to last. Executives were up in arms a few years back about how BitTorrent was clogging their pipes, but now it seems as if legal content is what’s now the biggest threat to bandwidth. Ain’t that ironic?