Because of the distributed nature of the Internet, there is no single point of measurement for total Internet traffic. Internet traffic data from public peering points can give an indication of Internet volume and growth, but these figures exclude traffic that remains within a single service provider's network as well as traffic that crosses private peering points.
Global Internet traffic
Aggregating from multiple sources and applying usage and bitrate assumptions, Cisco Systems, a major network systems company, has published the following historical Internet Protocol (IP) and Internet traffic figures:
|Fixed Internet Traffic
|Mobile Internet Traffic
"Fixed Internet Traffic" refers perhaps to traffic from residential and commercial subscribers to ISPs, cable companies, and other service providers.
"Mobile Internet Traffic" refers perhaps to backhaul traffic from cellphone towers and providers.
The overall "Internet Traffic" figures, which can be 30% higher than the sum of the other two, perhaps factors in traffic in the core of the national backbone, whereas the other figures seem to be derived principally from the network periphery.
Internet backbone traffic in the United States
The following data for the Internet backbone in the U.S. comes from the Minnesota Internet Traffic Studies (MINTS):
The Cisco data can be seven times higher than the Minnesota Internet Traffic Studies (MINTS) data not only because the Cisco figures are estimates for the global—not just the domestic US—Internet, but also because Cisco counts "general IP traffic (thus including closed networks that are not truly part of the Internet, but use IP, the Internet Protocol, such as the IPTV services of various telecom firms)". The MINTS estimate of US national backbone traffic for 2004, which may be interpolated as 200 Petabytes/month, is a plausible 3-fold multiple of the traffic of the US's largest backbone carrier, Level(3) Inc., which claims an average traffic level of 60 Petabytes/month.
- Williamson, Carey (2001). "Internet Traffic Measurement". IEEE Internet Computing 5 (6): 70–74. doi:10.1109/4236.968834.
- "The Size and Growth Rate of the Internet", K.G. Coffman and Andrew Odlyzki, First Monday, Volume 3, Number 5, October 1998
- Internet Traffic Report from AnalogX
- Internet Health Report from Keynote Systems
- Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), based at the University of California San Diego Supercomputer Center
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