Kenjiro Cho (IIJ, JP); Kensuke Fukuda (National Institute of Informatics, JP); Hiroshi Esaki (The University of Tokyo, JP); Akira Kato (The University of Tokyo, JP)
It is often argued that rapidly increasing video content along with the penetration of high-speed access is leading to explosive growth in the Internet traffic. Contrary to this popular claim, technically solid reports show only modest traffic growth worldwide. This paper sheds light on the causes of the apparently slow growth trends by analyzing commercial residential traffic in Japan where the fiber access rate is much higher than other countries. We first report that Japanese residential traffic also has modest growth rates using aggregated measurements from six ISPs. Then, we investigate residential per-customer traffic in one ISP by comparing traffic in 2005 and 2008, before and after the advent of YouTube and other similar services. Although at first glance a small segment of peer-to-peer users still dictate the overall volume, they are slightly decreasing in population share. Meanwhile, the rest of the users are steadily moving towards rich media content with increased diversity. Surely, a huge amount of online data and abundant headroom in access capacity can conceivably lead to a massive traffic growth at some point in the future. The observed trends, however, suggest that video content is unlikely to disastrously overflow the Internet, at least not anytime soon.