Advanced Television

Cisco: Internet 4 times bigger in 4 years

May 30, 2012

By Colin Mann

The annual Cisco VNI Forecast expects worldwide devices and connections to grow to almost 19 billion_ nearly doubling from 2011 to 2016.

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2011-2016), the company’s ongoing initiative to forecast and analyse Internet Protocol (IP) networking growth and trends worldwide quantitatively projects the significant amount of IP traffic expected to travel public and private networks, including Internet, managed IP, and mobile data traffic generated by consumers and business users.

According to the Index, by 2016, annual global IP traffic is forecast to be 1.3 zettabytes – (a zettabyte is equal to a sextillion bytes, or a trillion gigabytes). The projected increase of global IP traffic between 2015 and 2016 alone is more than 330 exabytes, which is almost equal to the total amount of global IP traffic generated in 2011 (369 exabytes). This significant level of traffic growth and service penetration is driven by a number of factors, including:

– An increasing number of devices: The proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, and other smart devices as well as machine-to-machine (M2M) connections are driving up the demand for connectivity. By 2016, the forecast projects there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections -almost 2.5 connections for each person on earth,  compared with 10.3 billion in 2011
– More Internet users: By 2016, there are expected to be 3.4 billion Internet users  – about 45 per cent of the world’s projected population according to United Nations estimates.
– Faster broadband speeds: The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase nearly fourfold, from 9 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2011 to 34 Mbps in 2016.
– More video: By 2016, 1.2 million video minutes_the equivalent of 833 days (or over two years) – would travel the Internet every second.
– Wi-Fi growth:  By 2016, over half of the world’s Internet traffic is expected to come from Wi-Fi connections.

Global IP traffic is expected to reach 1.3 zettabytes per year or 110 exabytes per month by 2016, nearly a fourfold increase from approximately 31 exabytes per month in 2011. Average global IP traffic in 2016 is expected to reach 150 petabytes per hour, the equivalent of 278 million people streaming an HD movie (at an average streaming speed of 1.2 Mbps) simultaneously.

By 2016, the Asia Pacific region is forecast to generate the most IP traffic (40.5 exabytes per month), maintaining the top spot over North America (27.5 exabytes per month), which generated the second most amount of traffic. The fastest-growing IP-traffic regions for the forecast period  are the Middle East and Africa (58 per cent compound annual growth rate, for 10-fold growth), and Latin America (49 per cent CAGR, sevenfold growth).

For fastest-growing IP traffic at the country level, India is expected to have the highest IP traffic growth rate with a 62 per cent CAGR from 2011 to 2016. In a second-place tie, Brazil and South Africa both have 53 per cent CAGRs over the forecast period. By 2016, the highest traffic-generating countries will be the United States (22 exabytes per month) and China (12 exabytes per month).

Consumer video is seen as a major growth driver. Globally, there are expected to be 1.5 billion Internet video users by 2016, up from 792 million Internet video users in 2011. By 2016, the Index forecasts there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections_almost 2.5 connections for each person on earth.

In 2011, PCs generated 94 per cent of consumer Internet traffic. This contribution is expected to fall to 81 per cent by 2016_demonstrating the impact that an increasing number and variety of devices like tablets, smartphones, etc. are having on how consumers and businesses access and use the Internet. By 2016, TVs are expected to account for over 6 per cent of global consumer Internet traffic (up from 4 per cent in 2011), and 18 per cent of Internet video traffic (up from 7 per cent in 2011) _demonstrating the impact of Web-enabled TVs as a viable online option for many consumers.

Global advanced video traffic, including 3D and HDTV, is projected to increase five times between 2011 and 2016, while by 2016, global peer-to-peer traffic is projected to account for 54 per cent of global consumer Internet file sharing traffic, down from 77 per cent in 2011. On a quantity basis, however, the amount of peer-to-peer traffic is expected to increase from a rate of 4.6 exabytes per month in 2011 to 10 exabytes per month by 2016.

Globally, mobile consumers are forecast to grow from 3.7 billion in 2011 to 4.5 billion by 2016. Globally, mobile video is projected to be the fastest-growing consumer mobile service, going from 271 million users in 2011 to 1.6 billion users in 2016.

Suraj Shetty, vice president of product and solutions marketing, Cisco, said that each of us increasingly connects to the network via multiple 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’, he added.

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