If you are an ISP, or your clients are ISP’s then you might need to know what is keeping them up at night. Here is an interesting analysis of what uses up an ISP’s bandwidth, produced by CacheLogic. It appears that most bandwidth is used by peer-to-peer (P2P) services – remember Napster? The rest of the web’s traffic is negligible compared to P2P file-sharing, much of which is legal, so it’s not just music and videos. The following myths are debunked in CacheLogic’s analysis:

  • P2P is in decline
  • P2P is all about MP3’s
  • The P2P problem is caused by a few heavy users

The authors believe that P2P has provided the blueprint for the next generation of web applications, so if you’re in this business, you’d better understand what is important to your customers and how you can help them. For the rest of us, P2P may wind up costing us more as it keeps chewing up available bandwidth, or it might squeeze out more traditional traffic. Some of this is beyond me, but it seems to be a significant phenomenon.

3 Responses to “Peer-to-Peer”

  1. Anonymous

    Re: Peer-to-PeerI had a conversation with a guy from Nortel Networks (runs an in-house ISP for employees of Nortel Networks to test stuff) in late June about the bandwidth issue, and he echoed CacheLogic’s analysis. Peer-to-peer related traffic was about 60% of all of the traffic that he handles. His thought was that ISP’s might have to (and some already have started) charge by the bandwidth usage per user, not just a set fee.


  2. Chad

    I think it’s really interesting how the trends you outlined here 3 years ago still hold true. P2P makes up a huge percentage of the overall traffic. In fact, some might argue that this is turning into one of the primary purposes of the internet. Not by users, but by sheer volume of traffic.


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