Joanna Glasner reports: Internet users consumed more bandwidth than ever last year, driven by the growing popularity of peer-to-peer networks and heightened demand for video files.
Burgeoning demand also prompted internet carriers to upgrade their network capacity to handle the upswing in traffic, a new report indicates.
According to TeleGeography, a telecommunications research firm, international demand for bandwidth grew 42 percent in 2004, with the largest upswing in usage coming from Asian nations. Last year marked the second consecutive annual upswing in demand, the firm said, after carriers added 62 percent more capacity in 2003.
“It really seems to be picking up again,” said Alan Mauldin, senior research analyst at TeleGeography, regarding demand for bandwidth among internet carriers surveyed for the report, released this month.
As internet service providers and operators of backbone networks sucked up more capacity, so did end users.
Researchers singled out peer-to-peer file trading as the single fastest-growing consumer of network capacity. Currently, Mauldin said, the amount of traffic from peer-to-peer trading rivals that generated by regular web surfing.
Growing demand for data-rich files, such as movies, is further boosting bandwidth consumption.