Study: Other network traffic surpassing P-to-P growth

P-to-P file sharing is still growing, but streaming video and download services are comprising more Internet traffic, according to a study.

Peer-to-peer file sharing is still growing, but streaming video and other download services are making up an increasing proportion of Internet traffic, according to new research.

The data suggests that Internet users are looking at alternative ways to download or view content, other than solely using BitTorrent or other P-to-P systems, said Klaus Mochalski, CEO of iPoque, which makes equipment for ISPs (Internet service providers) to manage network traffic.

IPoque gathered its data from eight ISPs in eight regions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America and Australia that use its traffic management equipment, covering about 1.1 million users including three universities. IPoque's traffic management equipment uses so-called DPI (deep-packet inspection) techniques to identity network traffic using around 100 different protocols. The data was anonymized, iPoque said.

P-to-P file sharing still comprises between 43 to 70 percent of Internet traffic varying by region and depending on the quality of the Internet connection. Some of the most popular systems and protocols include BitTorrent, which is indexed by search engines and trackers such as The Pirate Bay. Also popular are eDonkey, Gnutella and Ares.

In Eastern Europe, P-to-P made up about 83.4 percent of traffic in 2007; by 2008 and early 2009, that had fallen to 69.9 percent. In Southwestern Europe, P-to-P went from 63.9 percent in 2007 to 54.4 percent for iPoque's latest study.

The share of P-to-P dropped the most in Germany, which had a 24 percent decline. Mochalski said the drop is likely in part due to aggressive legal actions by the entertainment industry in that country to stop users from uploading content under copyright.

IPoque found a resurgence in the use of Usenet, a system that dates back to the late 1970s that spawned threaded group discussions over the Internet called newsgroups.

Files can also be posted on Usenet's distributed servers. File sharers have turned to using them as they offer a somewhat greater degree of safety when moving files under copyright, Mochalski said.

"The probability of being caught by these investigations is much lower than peer-to-peer," he said.

Companies such as Aviteo also offer subscription services that enable content from Usenet to be downloaded faster.

Mochalski cautioned that iPoque's study looked at overall network traffic and didn't track specifically an absolute volume of P-to-P traffic. However, it appears that P-to-P traffic overall continues to grow, but that it is outpaced by other traffic, he said.

"What P-to-P lost in growth is now going to streaming and file-hosting sites," Mochalski said.

One reason is that ISPs are frequently implementing traffic management technology that can slow down certain P-to-P protocols in order to reduce strain on their networks, Mochalski said. Those slower download speeds means some users are migrating to other services where they can get faster downloads.

Users are turning to services such as RapidShare and MegaUpload, which let them upload a file and then share a link, called a direct download link, in e-mails and Web forums. Most sites offer a free service with limits and subscriptions that allow more frequent downloads.

Also, rich Web sites offering streaming Flash videos continue to increase in number, iPoque found. Since a streaming Flash video plays through a Web browser, it's an easier option for users since they don't have to install a separate downloading program. Also, there's a reduced risk of mistakenly downloading spyware and malware on riskier P-to-P networks, iPoque said.

IPoque's study found that Flash comprised more than 60 percent of all streaming videos. For the eight regions iPoque covered, streaming media protocols made up between a low of 4.6 percent of all Internet traffic in the Middle East to a high of 10.1 percent in Southwestern Europe.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags internetpeer-to-peer

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?