Cisco Systems is predicting that global Internet traffic will more than quadruple by 2014, driven in large part by increases in video traffic and by people using the Web to communicate online.
In its annual Visual Networking Index released June 2, Cisco said Internet traffic will grow to 767 exabytes by 2014. The growth will be rapid, the company said, noting that traffic between 2013 and 2014 will jump 100 exabytes-about 10 times all the traffic running through IP networks in 2008.
By 2014, the monthly IP traffic will reach 63.9 exabytes, which according to Cisco is equal to 16 billion DVDs, 21 trillion MP3s or 399 quadrillion text messages.
Fueling the growth will be video, Cisco said. All forms of video-including TV, video-on-demand, Internet video and peer-to-peer video-will be more than 91 percent of consumer traffic worldwide. In addition, by the end of this year, global Internet video traffic will surpass peer-to-peer traffic, the company said. There will be more than 1 billion online video users by the end of 2010.
This year also will be the first time in 10 years that peer-to-peer traffic-consumers directly sharing files online-is not the top type of Internet traffic.
To illustrate the amount of video that will be crossing networks in 2014, Cisco said that to watch all the video crossing networks that year would take 72 million years.
All of this will put tremendous pressure on service providers, according to Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Service Provider Group.
"Service providers are faced with evolving bandwidth and scalability requirements as residential, business and mobile consumers continue to demonstrate a healthy appetite for advanced video services across a variety of networks and devices," Patel said in a statement. "IP networks must be intelligent and flexible enough to support this tremendous variety of traffic growth."
Cisco not only is the top vendor of switches and routers that move traffic through the networks, but also is betting heavily on video in other parts of its business.
The company has become a top video conferencing player, particularly since its $3.4 billion acquisition of telepresence vendor Tandberg. Cisco sees businesses looking to save money in such areas as travel, and are looking to video collaboration technologies as ways of improving productivity while keeping costs down.
Cisco believes the worldwide telepresence market could grow from $3 billion this year to more than $10 billion over the next few years.
In addition, Cisco is looking to bring high-definition video communications into the home, and currently is testing a consumer TelePresence offering that could hit the market later this year. The move would let it compete with the likes of Skype.