Cisco Sees Internet Traffic Quadrupling By 2015

Those were two of the findings from Cisco's influential Visual Networking Index Forecast (2010-2015), an annual report measuring IP traffic growth whose fifth installment was released Wednesday. According to Cisco, Internet traffic from 2014 to 2015 alone will increase by 200 exabytes, which would be greater than the total amount of IP traffic generated in 2010.

What's driving that rapid growth? According to Cisco, four things, starting with an increase in connected devices such as tablets and smartphones. Add in a greater number of Internet users -- more than 3 billion projected by 2015 -- overall, and also faster broadband speeds, with average fixed broadband speeds hitting 28 Mbps by 2015, up from 7 Mbps in 2010. And then there's video, which according to Cisco will account for 1 million minutes of Internet traffic every second by 2015.

Other highlights of the report include predictions by Cisco that global IP traffic will hit 80.5 exabytes per month by 2015, up from 20.2 exabytes per month in 2010, and that the Asia Pacific region will by 2015 generate the most IP traffic (24.1 exabytes per month) and surpass the North America region by that same year. The Middle East and Africa are expected to be the fastest-growing regions for IP traffic during the period.

Video traffic will continue to play a major role, contends Cisco, which projects that the global online video community will increase by about 500 million users by 2015, and that advanced video traffic, which Cisco defines as three-dimensional and high-definition television, will increase 14 times between 2010 and 2015.

Sponsored post

The amount of consumer IP traffic generated by PCs will decline, Cisco predicted, from 97 percent in 2010 to 87 percent by 2015, with mobile device IP traffic driving that change. Global peer-to-peer traffic, as in file sharing, will account for 16 percent of global consumer Internet traffic by 2015, down from 40 percent in 2010, Cisco added.

Business IP video conferencing, an exploding opportunity for solution providers and a market in which Cisco is a dominant player, is expected to grow sixfold from 2010-2015, with a CAGR of 41 percent during that five year span. If that's true, Cisco noted, it will grow at more than twice the speed of overall business IP traffic.

Suraj Shetty, vice president of global service provider marketing at Cisco, noted that Internet users are on the "threshold of the 'Zettabyte Era'." In a corporate blog post Wednesday, Shetty listed three areas where the implications of that growth are particularly significant: a strong need to migrate to IPv6 systems, a need for speedier adoption of 4G as "mobile users demand services and content similar to fixed service," and a need for more intelligent and flexible networks to support IP video.