Internet traffic growth: Sources and implications

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139 Scopus citations


The high tech bubble was inflated by myths of astronomical Internet traffic growth rates. Yet although these myths were false, Internet traffic was increasing very rapidly, close to doubling each year since 1997. Moreover, it continues growing close to this rate. This rapid growth reflects a poorly understood combination of many feedback loops operating on different time scales. Evidence about past and current growth rates and their sources is presented, together with speculations about the future. The expected rapid but not astronomical growth of Internet traffic is likely to have important implications for networking technologies that are deployed and for industry structure. Backbone transport is likely to remain a commodity and be provided as a single high quality service. It is probable that backbone revenues will stay low, as the complexity, cost, and revenue and profit opportunities continue to migrate towards the edges of the network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventOptical Transmission Systems and Equipment for WDM Networking II - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Sep 8 2003Sep 11 2003


  • Internet traffic growth
  • Network economics
  • QoS
  • Telecom industry structure


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