[LINK] Impact of Netflix on Aussie Internet

Stephen Loosley stephenloosley at zoho.com
Tue Apr 7 22:03:30 AEST 2015

Graphs show the impact Netflix is having on the Australian internet

April 2, 2015  By Ben Grubb. Reading now 40, Comments 93

Netflix is having a huge impact on Australia's internet infrastructure, with some claiming it is leading to slower, congested internet speeds during peak evening use periods.

But exactly how much of an impact is the streaming giant's service having?

While many telcos don't publish or release their traffic graphs, non-profit organisation IX Australia — which helps physically connect smaller ISPs with content players — does. 


In the past week, public graphs from IX Australia show Friday night at about 10pm was when most of its members' customers were using Netflix. Member ISPs include Exetel, M2 Telecom (which owns the Dodo and iPrimus brands), and the Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNET), which provides internet connectivity to Australian universities.

Yes, even the uni students and uni staff are making use of Netflix while on campus.

During Friday night, traffic peaked at about 13 gigabits per second. On Sunday it peaked again at about 11Gbps at the same time.

For context, search engine Yahoo peaks at about 0.8Gbps on IX Australia's network and Microsoft about 2Gbps (although this goes up when software updates are released).

Overall, the increase has seen the traffic IX Australia passes through its network jump 50 per cent - from 30Gbps to 45Gbps in recent days (and it's still growing).

Peering traffic — traffic exchanged between networks like Netflix and an ISP or an ISP and another ISP — for AARNET and M2 has jumped more than 100 per cent since Netflix launched.

Prior to Netflix's launch, AARNET was typically seeing 1Gbps of peering traffic traverse its network during peak periods. That's now jumped to 2.5Gbps thanks to Netflix.

For Exetel it has jumped 233 per cent from about 0.6Gbps to around 2Gbps. Meanwhile, M2 has seen peak peering traffic through IX Australia jump from 4Gbps to 8Gbps.

While this is not representative of each network's entire traffic jumping by the above percentages, it does give an idea of just how popular and bandwidth-intensive Netlfix is.

Meanwhile, Megaport chief Bevan Slattery told Fairfax Media that Netflix traffic was already approaching 50 per cent of its entire traffic. Like IX Australia, Megaport connects telcos and content providers but is a for profit business.

Perth-based iiNet has also said Netflix is accounting for approximately 15 per cent of its overall internet traffic.


Set up by smaller ISPs in the 90s, IX Australia provides what's known as a "peering exchange" which enables smaller Australian telco players to reduce the portion of their traffic which must be delivered through the backbone networks of telco giants such as Telstra and Optus, thereby reducing the average per-bit delivery cost of their service.

IX Australia does this by providing physical infrastructure through which internet service providers and web services, such as Netflix and Google, can exchange traffic between their networks, bypassing the larger providers.

In Sydney, IX Australia has two 10Gbps ports that connect directly into Netflix's Australian servers, according to information published on Netflix's website.


A further two links are in Megaport's Sydney interconnection exchange. Meanwhile, one 10Gbps link is located in the Equinix Sydney data centre in inner-east suburb Alexandria.

Netflix also offers telcos private access to its network in Equinix, which larger providers such as Telstra, Optus and AAPT are likely to make use of.

Each of these 10Gbps links — which are 416 times faster than the fastest ADSL2+ connection, which can get up to 24Mbps (0.024Gbps) — is used to provide you with fast Netflix.

The CommsDay Crosstalk podcast recently questioned whether ISPs would need to increase their prices to deal with Netflix. 

You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/crosstalkcommsday/will-you-be-paying-for-netflix-whether-you-want-to-or-not

Correction: Some of the percentages in this article were incorrect. The article has since been updated with the correct information.


93 comments so far

        The Vertigan Ergas review of the NBN made the following assumptions about internet usage:
        We assume that in 2013, average Internet TV viewing is 80 minutes per user per month.
        We assume that Internet TV viewing grows to be 25% of all Australian TV viewing by 2023 (equivalent to 47 minutes per day or 1,395 per month for all adults).
        We have assumed that the proportion of HD households is 74% in 2013, growing at 2% per year (excluding those who upgrade to 4K TV).
        We have assumed that HD viewing represents 20% of Internet TV viewing in HD households in 2013, growing by 6 percentage points per annum, to 80% by 2023.
        • The average console game size is 7GB for generation 7 devices (PS3, Xbox) and 17 GB for generation 8 devices (PS4, Xbox One)
        • Five downloads per year per using household, growing from 7GB to 17 GB in 2020 when generation 8 consoles are at maturity
        • A 12% CAGR in file size from 2020, based on an 8 year console generation cycle
        • Initially only the 20% of households that are ‘high use’ download such files. Over time, a further 20% of households become downloaders
        • By 2023, 90% of the download is pre- or post-loaded (growing from 0% in 2013)
        • An arbitrary assumption that download expectation is 60 minutes, falling to 20 minutes in 2023

        Guess they have forgotten Elder Scrolls online 100GB or Star Citizen 120GB with 20GB patches, hey that’s today not 2023.

        kevin Cobley
    Date and time
        Thu Apr 02 04:35:36 UTC 2015

            It was always going to happen given the LNP's myopic view of broadband usage, what a difference fttp would and should have made.
            Their fraudband policy has already come back to bite them and they have hardly started rolling it out.

        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 05:00:32 UTC 2015


            Pure gold thanks for the info........This government would have us still on dial up if they could.

            Sunshine Coast
        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 05:16:53 UTC 2015

            More nonsense from Henry E. We will end up paying twice for the NBN, once to build the one that will meet consumer needs and once to build the one that the Liberals have foisted on us in service of policy as a populist political weapon.

        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 05:22:56 UTC 2015

            So pissed off with this government and their politics before sensible policy I am speechless.

            centre of the universe
        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 05:43:58 UTC 2015

            I agree with all you have said, even if I do not know what you said.
            Anyway, Pirate Bay for me still rules.

            George Street
        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 06:04:21 UTC 2015

            No sweat, she'll be right kevin. A billion more taxpayer dollars will pay for our lifestyle choices.

        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 06:13:06 UTC 2015

            Welcoming a new guest to our services, we should be embarrassed by our infrastructure Australia. Thats the shortest response to this issue.

            The Other Guy1
        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 06:51:15 UTC 2015

            I'm also sure those figures were designed for politicians who think the internet can be used to stop terrorism by putting the whole population under 24/7 surveillance.

        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 07:09:58 UTC 2015

            so Turnbull has been proved to b an incompetent fool, in his first term of office, and even if his watered down NBN was reversed today (which isnnt going to happen) he personally has probably increased the cost of the full NBN we should have had in the first place by $20b or more!

            I agree pensions should be cut, let start by removing lucrative politicians, and then move on to public servants ones.

        Date and time
            Thu Apr 02 08:23:18 UTC 2015

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