Sandvine Reports on Global Internet Traffic

Network analytics business Sandvine always provides useful insights into what services are consuming the most network resources, or as they like to say, which services have the highest ‘traffic share’. Drawn upon data obtained from the networks of 150 tier 1 and tier 2 fixed and mobile operators, they may not have much perspective on traffic in China or India, but otherwise see what is happening across a significant proportion of the internet. The headline findings from their most recent Phenomena Report are that:

  • Almost 58 percent of global downstream internet traffic is used for video; 15 percent is Netflix. Although Netflix consumes most total traffic, it is a more efficient streaming service than those of major competitors.
  • More than half of all internet traffic is encrypted. The rise in encryption is linked to increased adoption of Transport Layer Security (TLS).
  • BitTorrent file sharing piracy is still widespread, with torrents representing 22 percent of global upstream traffic. In Europe and APAC the BitTorrent protocol consumes more upstream bandwidth than any other.
  • Major live sporting events now cause noticeable peaks in network demand. They also lead to piracy, with up to 40 percent of all World Cup streams being pirated.
  • Video game downloads have grown to become a significant proportion of all traffic. Steam and Playstation downloads are especially prominent in Europe.
  • The IoT device which generates most internet connections is the Nest Thermostat. Though IoT traffic remains a small proportion of total traffic it is becoming more noticeable, partly due to the increased popularity of voice assistants like Alexa and Siri.

Understanding the trends in traffic will help networks to plan for them. They are also vital for businesses seeking to manage the risks related to providing their services over the internet. The Sandvine Phenomena Report is well worth reading from cover to cover. The full report can be downloaded for free by anyone registering their personal details here.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.