Online Entertainment Applications Dominate Evening Hours

    October 21, 2008

Internet users behavior is shifting as online entertainment-based applications such as gaming, video streaming, social networking and VoIP communications dominate peak evening hours between 6:00 and 11:00p.m., according to a report from network equipment company Sandvine.

The report found these real-time, interactive applications increase up to 50 percent per subscriber during peak evening hours.

"Our research implies that families are spending more of their leisure time during evening hours on Internet-based entertainment and communication such as YouTube, Xbox Live and Skype," said Dave Caputo, Sandvine co-founder, president and CEO.

"Not only does this signal a dramatic shift in consumer behavior but emphasizes the rapid evolution and real strain placed on the Internet."

Peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic remains dominant in the upstream direction totaling 61 percent of network traffic and also accounts for more than 22 percent of downstream bandwidth consumption globally.

The amount of P2P traffic per subscriber stays at a relatively high steady rate during times when networks have their highest volumes of traffic.

The report also revealed that Web traffic and streaming videos account for 59 percent of downstream bandwidth consumption. During the evening’s peak hours these Web applications consume up to 64 percent of total downstream bandwidth.

This large amount of bandwidth is composed of a variety of different types of traffic, including Web browsing, social sites with large amounts of digital photos and buffered real-time video sites such as YouTube.

"Bulk bandwidth applications like P2P are on all day, everyday and are unaffected by changes to network utilization," said Mr. Caputo.

"This reinforces the importance of protecting real-time applications that are sensitive to jitter and latency during times of peak usage. Effective network traffic optimization techniques use sophisticated policies that balance network capacity, application requirements and subscriber quality of experience in real-time."