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Minnesota Internet Traffic Studies (MINTS)

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Several traffic reports: As before, the only visible floods are in wireless

In spite of continuing stories about a flood of video overwhelming the Internet, global wireline traffic shows no sign of moving up from its approximately 50 to 60% per year growth rate. If anything, the trend lines point down, not up.

Switch and Data, which operates the PAIX Internet exchanges, reported on Oct. 13, 2008 that its traffic grew 112% over the previous year, but that its estimate for worldwide traffic growth was just 65%, PAIX traffic report.

Third quarter earnings conference calls provided several tidbits of information about traffic trends. Equinix reported that in the U.S., its total network access traffic grew 34% compared to the previous year, Equinix 3Q2008 earnings call transcript. Cogent, which had experienced an actual traffic decline in the second quarter, reported that it resumed growth in the third quarter, with traffic growing 5% compared to the second quarter, and 24% compared to a year earlier, Cogent 3Q2008 earnings call transcript.

European Internet exchanges showed traffic growth of 56% from Aug. 2007 to Aug. 2008, compared to 84% over the previous year Euro-IX reports.

TERENA, a consortium of European national research and education networks reports a long-term growth rate in traffic of 46% per year, with some signs that growth may have slowed down in 2007. TERENA report.

Traffic in Hong Kond continues at a standstill, with the latest data (for August) showing residential download volumes growing a total of 0.1% over the previous year, statistics from Australia and Hong Kong.

Nemertes Research has an updated version of their study from last year, and continues to predict a collision between demand and supply, unless dramatic increases in investment are made. The basic, and highly debatable, assumption behind their work, though, is that traffic is growing at 100% per year or more, and will continue to do so for the next half a dozen years. So far there is little evidence of that, though. Nemertes study.

The one area where there are unmistakable signs of rapid data traffic is wireless. Opera Software continues to provide a series of detailed monthly reports on the Opera Mini browser for wireless devices. In Oct. 2008, data consumed by Opera Mini users came to 74 TB (terabytes), 490% higher than a year earlier, and 123% higher than half a year earlier, in April 2008 (corresponding to a 400% annual growth rate). That is tiny when compared with worldwide wireline traffic (which was in the range of 5 exabytes, or 5 million TB, last month, but the growth rate is far higher, and the value to users (and the prices they are willing to pay) is far higher on a per-byte basis. (And Opera Software points out that if it were not for their compression, the data would be 10 times larger.) State of the Mobile Web reports from Opera Software.