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P2P Traffic Stats Show Interesting Changes in Use

April 12, 2010
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I have noted before the difficulty of giving reliable measurements of p2p traffic; so it is with interest (and a pinch of salt) that we come to new figures again showing a decline in p2p traffic. This time the report is from Arbour Networks and reports a decline of over 71% between 2007 and 2009. That sounds significant. So what does that mean re users behaviour on the internet?

Well first off, demand for video grew by a huge 67% – which is what I’d have expected; the proliferation of good quality streaming sites mean that users can watch the video of choice without having to download it – so they will. (which interestingly is where it seems to be legal in the EU to stream copyrighted material).

Second point to note is that while there has been a rise in the use of remote-hosting sites (such as Megaupload) for sharing files rather than P2P – again I suspect for reasons of user ease and convenience.

Third point to note is that there might be methodology issues as the graph reports using ‘well known p2p ports’ and of late there has been a rise in using randomised ports by P2P software. While this is not impossible to detect, it is more work. (I’ve not read the original paper, so this might have been accounted for…)

Hat-tip to P2P-Blog.

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