Internet bandwidth trend – usage continues to grow
The title of this post might encourage the odd wise crack. Bear s&*%s in woods etc. Of course internet bandwidth use is growing. The point is though that in the past we have occasionally seen big spikes in bandwidth that have subsequently driven average usage and growth. The Olympic games, football world cup and general elections spring particularly to mind.
What we’re seeing now is different. We now have an almost daily general trend upwards rather than a big spike that breaks new records followed by a bit of up and down on the graph. There doesn’t seem to be any one thing driving it. It’s all general internet use.
LONAP is an internet exchange point (IXP) where networks connect with each other to share traffic (called peering). It’s not just general growth in internet traffic that drives the LONAP graphs up and to the right. There is also a realisation that peering is a far better means of accessing the internet than the alternative of commercial transit. Peering at an IXP is not just cheaper. It’s also better quality. Faster. Fewer hops.
There are a number of highly publicised business cases for use of Peering in IP connectivity in the wider commercial internet:
- Amazon quote a 1% increase in revenue for every 100ms improvement in page load time
- Yahoo increased traffic by 9% for every 400ms of improvement
- Google – “slowing down the search results page by 100 – 400 ms has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user of -0.2% to -0.6%”
Using Peering helps to lower latency and underwrites these business drivers. Content providers also like the better user experience that fast page loads bring and they are increasingly moving to join internet exchanges such as LONAP.
From what I can see all IXPs are growing. In London we have two: LINX and LONAP. Both are globally significant. In a world where infrastructure resilience is important operators are increasingly adding to the resilience of their own networks by peering at both London exchanges. London is said to have more AS number (individual autonomous networks or Autonomous Systems) POPs than any other city. The presence of two major exchanges may be both a reflection of this and a reason why.
These drivers point to a growth in IXP traffic that exceeds that of the general internet. The chart in the featured image above shows the trend at LONAP over the past 12 months. It shows a pretty dramatic doubling of bandwidth usage over the year. This other chart (inset) shows the growth over the last few days. Ignoring weekends you can see a daily trend.
Looking back five years LONAP has been highly successful in growing its business. 5 year membership has grown from 90 to 145 organisations. Bandwidth usage has rocketed from 10Gbps to 100Gbps (151 ports to 256 connected ports) and the turnover has seen a steady growth from £190k to £409k. It must be remembered that as a not for profit organisation the objective is not to grow sales revenues but to hand as much as the profits back to members. The increase in membership numbers and bandwidth is seen as the real added value.
This year we are seeing significant momentum in both new membership applications and bandwidth growth. My gut feel is that when it comes to the end of 2015 we will be looking back at an even greater level of growth. With the internet bandwidth trend only going one way it’s an exciting time to be around.