Report: Netflix Is An Internet Hog That's Only Getting Fatter

Brad Chacos

The recent Netflix wackiness may have sent some subscribers running, but it wasn’t enough to keep Netflix from gobbling up the Net’s bandwidth for yet another quarter. A new report says the streaming media powerhouse accounted for roughly 33 percent of all peak downsteam traffic in that time frame – even after  800,000 subscribers left for greener pastures recently. As big a slice as that is, the number may only increase as ISPs bolster their series of tubes.

That’s because Netflix uses a rate-adaptive form of streaming, the Sandvine research firm reports in its Fall 2011 Global Internet Phenomena Report. You know how Netflix’s picture quality adjusts to offer the best quality based on your network connection? That would come into play more as infrastructure is increased.

“From a network engineering perspective, it means that when capacity is increased, adaptive video simply upshifts to a higher fidelity and fills the new capacity,” Sandvine says in its report.  We doubt the change would be that dramatic, but we get the point. Sandvine reports that Netflix's peak bandwith usage has seen “a relative increase of more than 10% since spring.” Imagine how big that number could get if the pipes were widened and Netflix and its ilk only expanded/upgraded to fill them?

ISPs already shout and scream about Netflix’s never-sated hunger for more and more bandwidth; this report will only add fuel to the fire.

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