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Minnesota Internet Traffic Studies (MINTS)

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MINTS pages updated, many new reports, further slight slowdown in wireline traffic growth rate

The MINTS pages have been updated to present analysis and extrapolation of traffic data through year-end 2009. The summary table (in the section entitled "MINTS monitor of publicly available traffic statistics") reflects some of the problems in data collection. The MINTS software had to be moved to a new platform, many sites have changed their graphical output formats, so that MINTS software was not able to reverse engineer the graphs, and there was a shortage of time to devote to the project. Hence the quality of the data collected from publicly accessible sites has deteriorated significantly. Fewer sites could be analyzed completely by the automatic procedure in MINTS, and the dramatic drop in growth rates observed in that table is not representative of what is happening. Manual analysis of other sites, together with some confidential discussions with service providers, and many reports, some mentioned below, however, does lead to a conclusion that wireline Internet traffic growth, while still vigorous, has slowed, from the previous 50-60% per year pace, down to about 40-50%..

Arbor Networks, Merit Networks, and University of Michigan have carried out an interesting study of Internet traffic, showing the evolution of a new traffic patterns, and the breakdown of the traditional hierarchy of service providers. Their estimate, based on observing potentially up to a third of all the Internet traffic in the world, is that the annual growth rate is about 45%. Many more observations are in NANOG presentation deck.

Official government data collections in Australia and Hong Kong show about 65% growth in Australia in the year to June 2009, and a continuation of about 12% growth rate in Hong Kong government statistics.

Japanese Internet traffic continues to grow at about 30% per year, while the aggregate traffic at European Internet exchanges continues to grow at about 55% per year cooperative industry data collections.

Third quarter 2009 financial report conference calls (see Seeking Alpha site for transcripts) had Cogent Communications report 15% growth in traffic over the previous quarter, compared to 10% growth experienced in the previous quarter (corresponding to annual growth rates of 75% and 46%, respectively). Level 3 reported that growth rates are trending towards an increase, and said expectations are for between 45 and 65% per year.

A new Cisco study on broadband usage was released in September, Cisco Visual Networking Index study.

Wireless data continues to grow explosively. In October, at Supercomm 09, Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon said that wireless data traffic is growing more than 100% per year (as opposed to wireline traffic, where he estimated that global traffic is increasing at over 40%), Verizon transcript of Seidenberg keynote. This is consistent with the earlier estimates from Cisco, as well as others, for example the Chetan Sharma estimates and predictions, Chetan Sharma estimates. The big unknown is whether such rates can indeed be maintained for long.