P2P traffic stats always cause quite a bit of controversy. In 2004 several respectable sources were reporting that BitTorrent was responsible for 35% of all internet traffic. This was probably a huge overestimation at the time, today this figure sounds more realistic.
Ipoque reports in a preview of their 2007 P2P survey that BitTorrent is generating between 50-75% of all P2P traffic. P2P traffic is responsible for 50%-90% of all Internet traffic which means that BitTorrent traffic is generating somewhere between 25% and 65% of all Internet traffic.
However, there is quite a bit of regional variance in the use of P2P applications according to Ipoque: “eDonkey exhibits a regionally varying popularity with shares between 5-50% of all P2P. In certain regions, other protocols have gained a significant importance. In the Baltic States, for instance, DirectConnect has a proportion of about 30% of all P2P traffic”
Ipoque reports that all P2P traffic is still growing. Joost is not yet posing a threat to ISPs, but media streaming services and VoIP applications show significant growth. For example, Ipoque reports that Skype generates up to 2% of the overall traffic in certain networks.
It is probably good to know that this Internet traffic research is often conducted by companies that offer broadband management and optimization solutions. It is in their best interest to overestimate these figures because they design the traffic shaping applications that help ISPs to manage their precious bandwidth.
The 2007 P2P survey will be presented at Technology Review’s Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT, more details later.