In its fifth annual Visual Networking Index (VNI), Cisco notes the total amount of global Internet traffic will quadruple by 2015 and will reach 966 exabytes (18 zeros or 1 billion gigabytes) per year.

"The milestone has been the zetabyte era; that’s 21 zeros,” says Thomas Barnett, senior manager/WW Service Provider Marketing at Cisco. “We’ll be at 966 exabytes in 2015. We’re on the verge of the threshold of the zetabyte era."

The VNI Forecast is based on in-depth analysis and modeling of traffic, usage and device data from independent analyst forecasts. Cisco says it validates its forecast, inputs and methodology with actual traffic data provided voluntarily by global service providers and consumers.

The VNI research (revised for this 2010-2015 forecast period) found that global IP traffic growth is driven by four primary factors:

  1. More devices: An increasing number of devices is driving up the demand for connectivity. By 2015, there will be nearly 15 billion network connections via devices – including machine-to-machine – and more than two connections for each person on earth.
  2. More Internet users: By 2015, there will be nearly 3 billion Internet users – more than 40 percent of the world’s projected population.
  3. Faster broadband speed: The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase four-fold, from 7 Mbps in 2010 to 28 Mbps in 2015. The average broadband speed already has doubled within the past year, from 3.5 Mbps to 7 Mbps.
  4. More video: By 2015, 1 million video minutes – the equivalent of 674 days – will traverse the Internet every second.

"Internet video traffic surpassed peer-to-peer traffic in 2010,” adds Arielle Sumits, senior analyst/WW Service Provider Marketing. "Video will continue to gain traffic share and will cross the 50-percent mark of consumer Internet traffic in 2012."

Other findings include the following:

  • Global IP traffic is expected to reach 80.5 exabytes per month by 2015, up from approximately 20.2 exabytes per month in 2010.
  • Average global IP traffic in 2015 will reach 245 terabytes per second, equivalent to 200 million people streaming a HD movie (1.2 Mbps) simultaneously every day.
  • By 2015, the Asia Pacific region will generate the most IP traffic (24.1 exabytes per month), surpassing last year’s leader, North America (22.3 exabytes per month), for the top spot.
  • The fastest-growing IP traffic regions for the forecast period (2010-15) are the Middle East and Africa (52-percent compound annual growth rate, for an eight-fold growth), surpassing last year’s leader Latin America (48 percent CAGR, seven-fold growth).
  • The global online video community will increase by approximately 500 million users by 2015, up from more than 1 billion Internet video users in 2010.
  • In 2010, PCs generated 97 percent of consumer Internet traffic. This will fall to 87 percent by 2015, demonstrating the impact devices like tablets, smartphones and connected TVs are having on how consumers access and use the Internet.
  • Accessing the Internet on Web-enabled TVs continues to grow and, by 2015, 10 percent of global consumer Internet traffic and 18 percent of Internet video traffic will be consumed via TVs.
  • Global advanced video traffic, including 3D and HDTV, is projected to increase 14 times between 2010 and 2015.
  • Global mobile Internet data traffic will increase 26 times from 2010 to 2015, to 6.3 exabytes per month (75 exabytes annually).
  • By 2015, global peer-to-peer traffic will account for 16 percent of global consumer Internet traffic, down from 40 percent in 2010.
  • Business IP videoconferencing is projected to grow six-fold during the forecast period, more than two times as fast as overall business IP traffic, at a CAGR of 41 percent from 2010 to 2015.

To customize VNI data, see the Cisco VNI Web page.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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