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Categories: Technology

Netflix’s Utter Bandwidth Dominance in One Chart

Edited to add: As families get more and more electronic devices, bandwith issues become more pressing. Check out the bandwith hogs in this article then share the ones you use in the comments below.


Posted by Ben Taylor

You’ve probably lost a weekend (or three) to a Netflix binge, blazing through “House of Cards,” re-watching “Breaking Bad” or playing your favorite season of “The Office” on loop—a three-day carnival of cliffhangers, lost sleep and bad wine. Yes, you have a problem. No, you don’t need help.

The data says you’re not alone.

In 2015, over 36 percent of all Internet bandwidth in North America has come from Netflix streaming, more than the next eight biggest bandwidth hogs combined. The report comes from Sandvine, a networking equipment company that releases annual bandwidth statistics for all of the Web’s biggest players.

Note that the data only represents “downstream” bandwidth for “fixed access consumers.” In layman’s terms, that means we’re not counting upstream activity (ex: uploading your data to the cloud) and we’re focused on home and office Wi-Fi, not cellular network activity on 4G or LTE networks.

The rise of streaming services—such as Netflix for movies or Spotify for music—has claimed a variety of victims, from video rental giant Blockbuster to Apple’s 99¢-a-song iTunes Music Store. But it’s also taken a big bite out of BitTorrent.

For the uninitiated, BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer protocol that lets people share files with one another. While many BitTorrent use cases are perfectly legitimate, the protocol is infamous for allowing millions of people to illegally swap movie, TV and music files for free. By 2009, peer-to-peer file sharing (for which BitTorrent was the most popular protocol) accounted for roughly half of all Internet bandwidth—a massive community of (mostly illegal) file swapping.

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Janeane Davis

View Comments

  • Very interesting Janeane. I had no knowledge of this subject, but I can appreciate the changes in the industry and how we must all keep up with evolving technology.

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Janeane Davis

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