Internet traffic dominated by P2P protocols

By Justin Mann on November 28, 2007, 12:30 PM
With controversies like Comcast's filtering of peer to peer traffic, lawsuits over file sharing, claims by ISPs that P2P is ruining their networks and many aggressive measures taken by both sides to stop or continue to allow P2P, we might wonder how big of an issue it really is. Just how much traffic is generated by P2P programs? Quite a bit, it seems.

After gathering three petabytes of data, a German research firm analyzed the data and found some surprising results. The data was originally demonstrated a few months ago, and has now been dissected further. During the day, P2P traffic ranges anywhere from 49% to 83% of traffic, and during the evenings it can skyrocket to as high as 95%. The traffic was gathered in several different countries, and while it may not represent the world as a whole it is still interesting. Of course, not all of this is file sharing there is a gray area as to what constitutes as P2P application, such as Skype. Interestingly, instant messaging traffic didn't even register on the chart.

Of all the data gathered, king among protocols used for amount of traffic generated was BitTorrent. Given the myriad of both illegal and legal uses for the protocol, it is surprising to see how quickly it has overtaken all other forms of traffic around the globe. Should ISPs continue to see this as a threat, or should they instead see it as the evolving nature of the Internet and adapt accordingly?

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