Cisco Study Projects Internet Traffic will Quadruple by 2016

Cisco issued the annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2011-2016) that shows the growth and trends in the global IP traffic.  According to the forecast, the volume of information circulating the Internet is expected to multiply by four, reaching 1.3 zettabytes by 2016.

The report reveals an increase in IP traffic expected to travel by public and private networks, including managed IP networks, Internet, and mobile traffic generated by consumers and business users.

This year Cisco has also conducted a complementary study, Cisco VNI Forecast-Service Adoption, offering the expected growth rate in services for the residential market segment and consumer mobile business environments, both globally and regionally.

Global Trends

According to the report, in 2016 there will be about 18,900 million-networked devices worldwide, nearly 2.5 connections for every person on the planet, compared to 10,300 million devices in 2011.

Also, within next four years, Cisco estimated there would be 3,400 million Internet users, approximately 45 percent of the projected world population. In 2011, the overall number of Internet users was 2,000 million (approximately 28 percent).

Average global IP traffic is expected to reach 160 petabytes per hour in 2016, which is equivalent to online streaming of HD videos by 278 million people simultaneously at an average streaming speed of 1.2 Mbps.

“Each of us increasingly connects to the network via devices in our always-on connected lifestyles. Whether by video phone calls, movies on tablets, web-enabled TVs, or desktop video conferencing, the sum of our actions not only creates demand for zettabytes of bandwidth, but also dramatically changes the network requirements needed to deliver on the expectations of this ‘new normal,” said Suraj Shetty, vice president of product and solutions marketing, Cisco.

More Connected Devices, More Users

This enormous traffic growth and service penetration will be caused by various factors, including:

-         More Devices: The popularity of tablets, mobile phones and other smart devices including increased machine-to-machine communication will fuel the demand for connectivity. Global mobile internet traffic is expected to reach 10.8 exabytes per second, an increase of 18 times from 2011 to 2016.

-         More Internet Users: In 2016, there will be an estimated 3.4 billion internet users, which is about 45 percent of the world population.

-         Faster broadband connections: The average speed of a broadband connection is expected to grow by a factor of four from 9 Mbps in 2011 to 34 Mbps in 2016.

-         More Video: The internet video users will reach to 1.5 billion, up from 792 million in 2011.

-         More File Sharing: the global peer-to-peer file sharing traffic is expected to increase to 10 exabytes per month by 2016 from 4.6 exabytes per month in 2011.

-         More IPv6 Devices: In 2016, there will be 8 billion global fixed and mobile devices that are IPv6 compatible.

-         More Wi-Fi: The report predicts half of the global internet traffic will be coming from a Wi-Fi source.

“More and more mobile devices are coming on the networks that are causing this growth,” said Doug Webster, a vice president, Cisco.

Cisco, which has its own Android-based Cius tablet offering, is planning to cut its investment as employees are increasingly bringing their own tablets to work.

It’s a good thing for Cisco. The pioneer in network connections, routers, and switches can see this tremendous growth in Internet data usage as an opportunity to sell a bunch of networking equipment.

About Saroj Kar

Saroj is a Staff Writer at SiliconANGLE covering DevOps, social, mobile and gaming news. If you have a story idea or tip, send it to @SiliconAngle on Twitter.