Net Slowing Down? Not So Fast

Some new market research suggests that Internet traffic will grow like gangbusters between now and 2005.

The ongoing troubles in the telecommunications industry, the downturn among telecommunications equipment makers, and troubles of the whole high-tech industry arent necessarily due to the fact that Internet traffic growth is slowing. According to a recent report from market researchers at IDC, Internet traffic is still growing fast enough to hit some key milestones over the next several years.

The IDC report, "More is Not Enough: Bandwidth End Use Forecast and Analysis," estimates that worldwide Internet traffic will increase 93-fold from 2000 to 2005, predicts that Internet traffic growth will surpass voice traffic in 2002, and says that by 2005, Internet traffic will total more than eight times voice traffic.

How does this kind of traffic stack up in terms of the amount of data being exchanged? The report es-timates that global Internet users generated 24,432 terabits per day at the end of 2000—equivalent to all the data in the Library of Congress times 305. The report estimates that by 2005, 2,276,000 terabits will be ex-changed each day, representing a 147-percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through the forecast period.

These increases in traffic will, IDC researchers predict, have a profound influence on the spread of broadband technology and optical networking solutions. According to Sterling Perrin, senior research ana-lyst at IDC: "The continued, rapid growth of Internet traffic and the fundamental shift from circuit voice to packet data will drive substantial deployments of optical networking equipment."