YouTube accounts for 12% of U.S. bandwidth and is a factor in falling P2P traffic, according to Arbor Networks. Netflix is tops with 20% of U.S. bandwidth. HTTP (world wide web) sites are second with 19%.
P2P has declined to 8% of North American network traffic from a high of over 30% in 2007, says Arbor Networks, a provider of network security solutions. It would make sense for P2P's share of traffic to decline as consumer activities like watching movies evolve from physical media to online streaming. But is the outright amount of P2P traffic declining too?
"I think Netflix, iTunes and direct download [sites] all play a role in the diminishing P2P traffic volumes," Craig Labovitz, Arbor Network's chief scientist, told CNET. Direct-download sites, such as Megaupload, host files - often music and movies without the copyright owners' consent - and allow others to download the files.
Others research also points to a drop in the prevalence of P2P - although not necessarily a dip in overall piracy. In March, NPD Group said P2P use had dropped to 9% from 16% of all U.S. Internet users from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2010. (It must be noted that LimeWire's shutdown in the fourth quarter of 2010 was a factor.) A few years ago, NPD found the quantity of files acquired by teens through P2P networks dropped 6% in 2008. Back in 2009, Arbor Networks said P2P accounted for 18% of total traffic, although it noted that file-hosting sites were on the rise as P2P was dropping.
But one company says P2P has grown its share of total traffic - an increase in relative, not just absolute, terms. Sandvine, a provider of network management solutions, told CNET P2P file sharing streaming accounted for 19.2% of North American peak period Internet traffic in 2010, up from 15.1% in 2009. Over the same time period, streaming entertainment increased from 29.5% to 42.7%.