Future of InternetInternet security and network management specialist Arbor Networks, the University of Michigan and Merit Network released a preview today of what they believe to be “the largest study of global Internet traffic since the start of the commercial Internet in the mid-1990s.”

The three partners’ two-year-long study, entitled “The Internet Observatory Report,” analyzes detailed traffic statistics from 110 large cable operators, international transit backbones, regional networks and content providers around the world.  They will be presenting the full report at the NANOG47 in Dearborn, Michigan on October 19.

“Saying the Internet has changed dramatically over the last five years is cliché – the Internet is always changing dramatically.  However, over the course of the last five years, we’ve witnessed the start of an equally dramatic shift in the fundamental business of the Internet,” Arbor Networks chief scientist Craig Labovitz said in a news release.  

“This research report, in collaboration with our partners at the University of Michigan and Merit Network, provides the in-depth visibility into what exactly has changed relative to the business side of the Internet in the past two years.”

Included among a preview of the study’s key findings:

  • Internet traffic has moved away from the 10-12 traditional core T-1 international transit providers.  The majority now flows directly between large content providers, data center/Content Delivery Networks and consumer networks;
  • Thirty large companies–dubbed “hypergiants”–“now generate and consume a disproportionate 30% of all Internet traffic”;
  • Similarly, a much smaller number of Web and video protocols–such as Video Over Web and Adobe Flash–are being used to distribute Internet applications.  Use of others, such as peer-to-peer (P2P), has declined significantly;
  • Traditional b2b relationships between transit providers, consumer networks and content providers have changed radically and even reversed over the last five years as a result of economic changes, including “the collapse of wholesale IP transit and the dramatic growth in advertisement-supported service.”  Service providers now offer “everything from triple play services to managed security services, VPNs, and increasingly, CDNs.”

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