updated 02:56 pm EDT, Wed May 30, 2012
Cisco forecasts global IP traffic at 1.3 zettabytes by 2016
In its annual visual networking index forecast, network equipment maker Cisco expects Internet Protocol traffic to increase dramatically over the next four years. Cisco forecasts an annual compound growth rate of 29 percent between now and 2016, with global IP traffic reaching the equivalent of 38 million DVDs per hour in four years' time.
Cisco forecasts that, by 2015, there will be nearly 19 billion fixed and mobile networked devices and machine-to-machine connections, nearly three devices for every person on earth. This will include tablets, smartphones, web-enabled televisions, game consoles, and any number of other technologies that may emerge between now and then.
That growth in devices and connectivity is expected to result in 1.3 zettabytes --about 1.3 billion terabytes -- of annual IP traffic by 2016. Mobile traffic is expected to increase 18-fold to 130 exabytes per year, with 71 percent of that being mobile video. 4G connections are expected to account for 36 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2016.
The recently-released report is an update of a previous version of the forecast. Even in the few months since the original version Cisco's IP traffic figures have increased significantly. As an Internet traffic equipment manufacturer, Cisco stands to benefit from increased traffic on the web, but the company has been quick to note in the past that the forecast growth in traffic may call for novel solutions if the world is to avoid overloading its bandwidth capacity.