The study represents a shift from previous years in which Internet traffic climaxed during the daytime.
While 11 p.m. has become the peak, Arbor Networks said another smaller peak is detected at about 4 p.m. as more adults are winding down their day at the office.
Around 8 p.m. activity starts to rise again, climbing steadily until roughly 11 p.m., but remaining remarkably heavy until well after midnight.
Arbor Networks’ Craig Labovitz of Arbor Networks said that there’s a lot of Internet video being watched at the peak of 11 p.m., including content on online adult websites.
“After dark when the dinner dishes are put away and the kids are safely tucked into bed, the Internet subtly changes,” Labovitz said in a blog post for Arbor Networks. “Starting in the twilight of early evening, business traffic slows to a crawl, previously dormant applications flicker on home computer screens, and like clockwork, Internet activity begins its nightly climb towards a regular after hours bandwidth peak.”
The study, which looked at traffic patterns of 10 days in July, also notes that North Americans appear to be on the web much later than their counterparts across the Atlantic. European Internet traffic hits its peak around 9 p.m. and then falls dramatically over the next several hours.