Netflix users consume one third of internet traffic during primetime

Real-Time Entertainment applications, primarily video streaming, now accounts for 60% of peak downstream traffic in North America according to a report released today by Waterloo based Sandvine.

Sandvine says that during peak primetime hours (7pm to 9pm) Netflix users are the largest consumers of internet bandwidth, accounting for almost one-third (32.7%) of peak aggregate traffic, a relative increase of more than 10% since the spring.

Other findings from the Sandvine Fall 2011 Global internet phenomena study include:

  • Americans have now entered the “Post-PC Era” with the majority of Real-Time Entertainment (RTE) traffic no longer destined for a personal computer. Fully 55% of RTE traffic is now destined for game consoles, set-top boxes, smart TVs, and mobile devices being used in the home, with only 45% actually going to desktop and laptop computers over North American fixed networks.
  • Video in mobile networks continues to gain momentum. In North America, Real-Time Entertainment is now 32.6% of peak downstream traffic, while in Asia Pacific it is 41.8%. The largest contributor is YouTube , and other applications like peercasting PPStream and Netflix are making inroads.
  • Mobile Marketplace traffic accounts for 9.4% of peak downstream usage in Asia Pacific and 5.8% in North America, led in both cases by Apple and Google. Applications like Skype and WhatsApp Messenger, that replace the traditional revenue sources of voice and texting, are being installed by growing numbers of subscribers.
  • In North America on fixed networks, mean usage remained generally flat at the high end (22.7 GB from 23.0 GB reported in May) and median usage dropped to 5.8 GB from 7.0 GB. This shows that while subscribers aren’t using more traffic overall the usage gap between heavy and light users is broadening and that more data is being used during the small peak period window. In Asia-Pacific fixed networks, median monthly usage is 17.7 GB, which is the largest we have observed.

Sandvine believes the increasing demand for internet capacity during the evening’s peak hours may ultimately force service providers to consider offering internet service plans that shift usage to off-peak hours.

The information in Sandvine’s Fall 2011 study is based on voluntary and anonymous data, aggregated from over 200 service provider networks in 85 countries.

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