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Cisco predicts IP traffic to reach 1.6 Zettabytes by 2018

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Forecast and Service Adoption for 2013 to 2018, global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic will increase nearly three-fold over the next five years due to more Internet users and devices, faster broadband speeds and more video viewing. Global IP traffic for fixed and mobile connections is expected to reach an annual run rate of 1.6 zettabytes – more than one and a half trillion gigabytes per year by 2018. The projected annual IP traffic for 2018 will be greater than all IP traffic that has been generated globally from 1984 – 2013 (1.3 zettabytes).

The composition of IP traffic will shift dramatically in the coming few years. During the forecast period, the majority of traffic will originate from devices other than personal computers (PCs) for the first time in the history of the Internet. Wi-Fi traffic will exceed wired traffic for the first time and high-definition (HD) video will generate more traffic than standard definition (SD) video.

The Internet of Everything is also gaining momentum and by 2018 there will be nearly as many machine-to-machine (M2M) connections as there are people on earth. Smart cars will have nearly four M2M modules per car.

World Cup 2014 to Drive Internet Traffic

With the FIFA World Cup 2014 set to begin on Thursday (June 12), millions of people are expected to view games and/or highlights via the Internet. Video streaming and IP broadcast of the World Cup is anticipated to generate 4.3 exabytes of IP traffic, which is three times the amount of monthly IP traffic currently generated by Brazil (this year’s World Cup host city). In addition, Internet traffic generated by the 60,000 people in a stadium and traveling to games is forecasted to surpass the busy-hour traffic from all 94 million smartphone subscribers in Brazil.

Global IP traffic is expected to reach 132 exabytes per month by 2018, which is the equivalent to:

  • 8.8 billion screens streaming the FIFA World Cup final game in Ultra-HD/4K at the same time;
  • 5.5 billion people binge-watching “Game of Thrones” Season 4 via video-on-demand in HD or 1.5 billion watching in Ultra-HD/4K;
  • 4.5 trillion YouTube clips; and
  • 940 quadrillion text messages.

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

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