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Why Global IP Traffic is Predicted to Grow Three-Fold

The Global Networked Economy is fueled by readily available and pervasive broadband internet access. Tapping this amazing worldwide resource for socioeconomic advancement continues to transform the way that we work, live, play and learn.

The latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2012-2017) projects that global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic will grow three-fold between 2012 and 2017.

Global IP traffic (fixed and mobile) is expected to reach an annual run rate of 1.4 zettabytes ― more than a trillion gigabytes per year – by 2017. On a monthly basis, global IP traffic is expected to reach nearly 121 exabytes per month by 2017, up from about 44 exabytes per month in 2012.

"Cisco's VNI Forecast once again showcases the seemingly insatiable demand for bandwidth around the globe and provides insights on the architectural considerations necessary to deliver on the ever-increasing experiences being delivered. With more and more people, things, processes and data being connected in the Internet of Everything, the intelligent network and the service providers who operate them are more relevant than ever," said Doug Webster, vice president of product and solutions marketing, Cisco Systems, Inc.

This updated study includes global fixed IP traffic growth and service adoption trends, complementing the VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast released earlier this year.

Here are the highlights of the latest market study findings:

More Global Internet Users
  • By 2017, there will be about 3.6 billion Internet users—more than 48% of the world's projected population (7.6 billion).
  • In 2012, there were 2.3 billion Internet users—about 32% of the world's population (7.2 billion).
More Global Devices/Connections
  • By 2017, there will be more than 19 billion global network connections (fixed/mobile personal devices, M2M connections, et al.), up from about 12 billion connections in 2012.
Faster Global Fixed Broadband Network Speeds
  • Globally, the average fixed broadband speed will increase 3.5-fold from 2012 – 2017, from 11.3 Mbps to 39 Mbps.
  • Globally, the average fixed broadband speed grew 30% from 2011 – 2012, from 8.7 Mbps to 11.3 Mbps.
Increased Global Use of Video Services/Applications
  • Global network users will generate 3 trillion Internet video minutes per month, that is 6 million years of video per month, or 1.2 million video minutes every second or more than two years worth of video every second.
  • Globally, there will be nearly 2 billion Internet video users (excluding mobile-only) by 2017, up from 1 billion Internet video users in 2012.
Global Business IP Traffic            
  • Overall business IP traffic, which includes Internet, backup, VoIP, etc., will nearly triple between 2012 and 2017.
  • In 2012, business IP traffic represented 20% of monthly total global IP traffic (consumer IP traffic represented 80% of monthly total global IP traffic).
  • By 2017, business IP traffic will represent 18% of monthly total global IP traffic (consumer IP traffic will represent 82% of monthly total global IP traffic).

    In 2012, 26% of Internet traffic originated with non-PC devices, but by 2017 the non-PC share of Internet traffic will grow to 49%. PC-originated traffic will grow at a 14% CAGR, while other devices/connections will have higher traffic growth rates over the forecast period―TVs (24%), tablets (104%), smartphones (79%), and machine-to-machine (M2M) modules (82%).

    As global service providers build out the Next Generation Internet, nearly half of the world's population will have network and Internet access by 2017. The average Internet household (globally) will generate 74.5 gigabytes per month. By comparison, in 2012, the average Internet household generated 31.6 gigabytes of traffic per month.

    The Forecast also reveals that the "Internet of Things" (the networked connection of physical objects) is showing tangible growth and will have a measurable impact on global IP networks. Globally, M2M connections will grow three-fold from two billion in 2012 to six billion by 2017.

    Annual global M2M IP traffic will grow 20-fold over this same period—from 197 petabytes in 2012 (0.5% of global IP traffic) to 3.9 exabytes by 2017 (3% of global IP traffic). Applications such as video surveillance, smart meters, asset/package tracking, chipped pets/livestock, digital health monitors and a host of other next-generation M2M services are driving this growth.