An increase in connected devices, Internet users and video will push traffic close to the zettabyte level by 2015, according to a survey by Cisco.
The amount of
Internet traffic worldwide will quadruple by 2015, driven by the explosion in
the number of connected devices and connected people, the amount of video and
faster broadband speeds, according to networking giant Cisco Systems.
In its annual
Visual Networking Index Forecast, Cisco officials predicted that global
Internet traffic will reach 966 exabytes per year by 2015, with the projected
growth between 2014 and 2015 alone being 200 exabytes-more than the total
amount of Internet traffic generated worldwide in 2010.
the report June 1 during an event at the National Press Club in Washington,
D.C., that was attended by representatives from the Federal Communications
Commission, the European Union and Japanese regulators.
equals 1 quintillion bytes, or 10 to the 18th power.
much entering the zettabyte era," Doug Webster, director of marketing for Cisco
Service Provider, said in an interview with eWEEK.
A zettabyte is
1 sextillion bytes, or 1 trillion gigabytes.
A surge in
network-connected devices-and the number of Internet users-is helping fuel the
rapid increase in Internet traffic, according to Webster. By 2015, there will
be almost 15 billion network-connected devices-including smartphones,
notebooks, tablets, appliances and other smart machines-and more than two
connections for each person on Earth, the Cisco report said. There was about
one per person on the planet in 2010.
On average, a
U.S. citizen will have seven connected devices by 2015. By 2015, more than 40
percent of the world's population-or almost 3 billion people-will be Internet
The types of
connected devices will continue to grow, Cisco said. In 2010, PCs generated 97
percent of consumer Internet traffic. However, by 2015, that number will drop
to 87 percent, a reflection of the rise of tablets, smartphones, connected TVs
and other devices consumers are using to access the Internet.
The key driver
in Internet traffic growth will be the use of video, Webster said.
"There is a
strong uptick in the use of video," he said. "The network experience is much
more visual in nature."
means a greater need for bandwidth. Cisco estimates that the number of global
online video users will jump from more than 1 billion in 2010 to about 500
million in 2015. In addition, the type of video being put on the Internet will
evolve as well. The trend in video is not just driven by short forms like
YouTube videos, which usually only run for a few minutes. Longer media is
becoming more common, from movies and television shows to live events streamed
to devices. Webster pointed to two events-President Obama's inauguration and
the World Cup soccer tournament-as examples.
this transition in video loads from short-form to long-form," he said, adding
that Cisco expects to see three times as much long-form video than short-form
The amount of
bandwidth being consumed also will increase, Webster said. In 2010, 35 million
connected households consumed 100 gigabits per month, he said. That number will
jump to 125 million households by 2015.
broadband speed will ramp up. The average fixed broadband speed will grow by a
factor of four, from 7M bps in 2010 to 28M bps in 2015.
will play a role in the growth of traffic, the Cisco study indicated. Global
mobile Internet data traffic in 2015 will be 26 times more than in 2010,
jumping to 6.3 exabytes per month, or 75 exabytes per year.
It will be
important that service providers take note of all these numbers, Webster said.
They will need greater capacity and scalability, he said. In addition, given
the amount of video that will be involved-Cisco predicts that by 2015, more
than 90 percent of all consumer Internet traffic will be video-service
providers will need greater intelligence in the network because video is more
difficult to deliver and consumers are more sensitive to issues around it, he
tolerance for bad video is much lower than for bad voice," he said.
providers also will have to deal with the blurring of the line between fixed
and mobile traffic, as consumers increasingly expect to have the same
experience on their mobile devices as they do on their PCs or connected
warnings are there for networking vendors, including Cisco, Webster said. They
need to build technology that not only increases capacity and scalability, but
also is more intelligent.
just go in and use dumb bandwidth," he said. "It's not just about raw
needs to be able not only to move the Internet traffic, but also to understand
what the traffic is (to determine if it's video, for example) and understand
the relationship of the data flowing through the network and deliver it to the
users in a consistent and problem-free way.