April 2, 2015
Netflix’s local launch has had a huge impact on the Australian internet’s infrastructure.
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?
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.
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 below:
Correction: Some of the percentages in this article were incorrect. The article has since been updated with the correct information.