ISP traffic snooping growing fast

The market for deep packet inspection technology, which Internet service providers use to analyse the precise nature of the web traffic they carry, will multiply five times over by 2015, according to newly published research.

The market for deep packet inspection (DPI) technology among ISPs was worth $222 million in 2009, but will grow $1.1 billion by 2015, UK analyst company TechNavio predicts.

Much of this growth will be driven by demand in the US, the company said, thanks in part to the US government’s Einstein program, an intrusion detection system that monitors threats to government networks. DPI for mobile broadband will show “explosive growth”, it added.

This will be discouraging news for advocates of net neutrality. DPI allows ISPs to find out which packets – the unit of information transfer over the Internet – relate to which websites, which in turn would allow them to prioritise content from specific web companies.

However, a spokersperson for TechNavio said that the key drivers for DPI adoption by ISPs are network congestion and security threats. “Adoption of DPI is the only way forward in the face of burgeoning bandwidth congestion and advanced security threats,” they said. “DPI will prove to be the silver bullet against these major challenges that ISPs, governments and enterprises face on a daily basis.”

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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