Video downloads and all kinds of uploads driving Internet bandwidth demand

3 November 2018 by Steve Blum
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Video accounts for 58% of Internet traffic worldwide, according to a new report by Sandvine, an Internet technology and research company based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Netflix accounts for nearly one-fifth of all the user download traffic in the Americas – more than any other company or protocol category – and five percent of all user upstream traffic. That makes it the number one bandwidth demand driver in this hemisphere. Netflix is in third place on the user upload side, behind raw video – surveillance cameras, for example – and bit torrent. Apple is also capturing a significant share of upstream traffic, with its iCloud photo service accounting for 3% of bandwidth. Netflix’s upstream consumption was unexpected, according to the report

MPEG (video cameras/surveillance) and HTTP media streaming (many different live streaming services) make sense, but why Netflix? Netflix is constantly “bookmarking” your location; as users browse the library, Netflix interactively starts video previews, which has had a huge impact on the upstream. This has made video a major player in the upstream, even with social networking video having less impact than expected on networks…

iCloud Photo Stream makes the first appearance for an Apple product as well as a storage application, illustrating the popularity of mobile photos that immediately get uploaded to the cloud. Photo traffic is also part of the Google number from Androids. There are also lots of VPNs in the Americas, as IPSec is 10th on the list at 2.65%, representing both business users and privacy VPN services.

Mobile operators seem to be hardest hit by the increasing demand for bandwidth, in either direction. They’re responding by giving users incentives to consume less…

It also bears mentioning that the number of mobile operators managing video traffic by offering unlimited viewing for reduced resolutions, which is also depressing the volume of video traffic worldwide.

Encryption continues to grow in popularity, too. Sandvine reports that more than half of the world’s Internet traffic is now encrypted.