Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Traffic on the internet continues to grow at massive scale.
Okay, that one’s quite familiar. But I bet you haven’t heard this one: Cisco Systems says that within four years, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior years combined, and that more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the 32 years since the internet started.
Now that’s what scale is all about.
The internet is made up of thousands of public and private networks around the world. Since it came to life in 1984, more than 4.7 zettabytes of IP traffic have flowed across it, Cisco said in its annual IP traffic report released Nov. 27. That’s the same as all the movies ever made crossing global IP networks in less than a minute.
In its latest Visual Networking Index (VNI), San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco predicts that is just the beginning. By 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior “internet years” combined, up to the end of 2016.
Where will that traffic emanate? From everywhere–us, our machines and the way we use the internet, Cisco said. By 2022, 60 percent of the global population will be internet users. More than 28 billion devices and connections will be online. Video will make up 82 percent of all IP traffic, the networking equipment maker said.
Cisco’s key predictions for 2022
Cisco’s VNI looked at the impact that users, devices and other trends will have on global IP networks over a five-year period. From 2017 to 2022, Cisco predicts:
Global IP traffic will more than triple: Global IP traffic is expected to reach 396 exabytes per month by 2022, up from 122 exabytes per month in 2017. That’s 4.8 zettabytes of traffic per year by 2022.By 2022, the busiest hour of internet traffic will be six times more active than the average. Busy hour internet traffic will grow by nearly five times (37 percent CAGR) from 2017 to 2022, reaching 7.2 petabytes per second by 2022. In comparison, average internet traffic will grow by nearly four times (30 percent CAGR) over the same period to reach 1 petabyte by 2022.
Global internet users will make up 60 percent of the world’s population: There will be 4.8 billion internet users by 2022. That’s up from 3.4 billion in 2017 or 45 percent of the world’s population.
Global networked devices and connections will reach 28.5 billion: By 2022, there will be 28.5 billion fixed and mobile personal devices and connections, up from 18 billion in 2017—or 3.6 networked devices/connections per person, from 2.4 per person. More than half of all devices and connections will be machine-to-machine by 2022, up from 34 percent in 2017. That’s 14.6 billion connections from smart speakers, fixtures, devices and everything else, up from 6.1 billion.
Global broadband, Wi-Fi and mobile speeds will double or more: Average global fixed broadband speeds will nearly double from 39.0 Mbps to 75.4 Mbps. Average global Wi-Fi connection speeds will more than double from 24.4 Mbps to 54.0 Mbps. Average global mobile connection speeds will more than triple from 8.7 Mbps to 28.5 Mbps.
Video, gaming and multimedia will make up more than 85 percent of all traffic: IP video traffic will quadruple by 2022. As a result, it will make up an even larger percentage of total IP traffic than before—up to 82 percent from 75 percent. Gaming traffic is expected to grow nine-fold from 2017 to 2022. It will represent four percent of overall IP traffic in 2022. Virtual and augmented reality traffic will skyrocket as more consumers and businesses use the technologies. By 2022, virtual and augmented reality traffic will reach 4.02 exabytes/month, up from 0.33 exabytes/month in 2017.
Regional IP traffic growth details (2017 – 2022)
- APAC: 173 exabytes/month by 2022, 32 percent CAGR, four-times growth
- North America: 108 exabytes/month by 2022, 21 percent CAGR, three-times growth
- Western Europe: 50 exabytes/month 2022, 22 percent CAGR, three-times growth
- Central & Eastern Europe: 25 exabytes/month by 2022, 26 percent CAGR, three-times growth
- Middle East and Africa: 21 exabytes/month by 2022, 41 percent CAGR, six-times growth
- Latin America: 19 exabytes/month by 2022, 21 percent CAGR, three-times growth
The Cisco VNI Complete Forecast for 2017 to 2022 relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco’s own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption. A detailed methodology description is included in the complete report. During its 13-year history, Cisco VNI research has become a highly regarded measure of the Internet’s growth. National governments, network regulators, academic researchers, telecommunications companies, technology experts and industry/business press and analysts use the annual study to help plan for the digital future.