One of the busiest times of the year for my team comes every June when we release the Cisco Visual Networking Index which forecasts IP Traffic growth around the globe. Now in its 5th year, the forecast, which initially started as a internal project to guide our own engineers as they innovate the next generation of networking infrastructure, has now grown to be an innovation in its own right, helping to provide data for our service provider customer and regulatory bodies alike (not to mention press, analysts, and IP groupies like yours truly.)
The top level finding of this Cisco VNI Forecast, which spans from 2010 to 2015 is that total worldwide IP traffic will increase 4x by 2015, reaching 966 exabytes or just under 1 Zettabye (which is 10 to the 21st power) To put context to rising demand of IP over the last several years, we have had to change the unit of measurement several times just to keep up with the growth…. First it we measured traffic in terms of Petabytes… then moved to Exabytes… and now are embarking on Zettabytes…(looking ahead, we’ll eventually start to use the term Yottabyte…)
Factors that are driving this growth, include:
- Video, as it is increasingly a part of nearly every networked experience. By 2015, one million minutes of video – nearly two years worth – will cross the network every second.
- More devices are connecting to the network – we forecast more than 15 billion will be on the network by 2015, making it on average more than two devices (whether it be a PC, phone, TV, or even machine-to-machine) per person for every person on earth (and if you’re like me, you’re an “overachiever” on this number, with well over a dozen devices connected to the network…by the way, just how many network connections are you responsible for?)
- More people will be using the network – a total of 3 Billion people will be on the network in 2015, compared to 1.9 Billion estimated in 2010, due to increased broadband penetration – much of it mobile – and accessibility of lower cost devices.
- Increased speed – overall connectivity speed doubled from 2009-2010 from 3.5 to 7Mbps and is expected to increase 4-fold to 28 Mbps by 2015. This is relevant because when people can do more with the network, they tend to do so… video usage increases all the more which starts the cycle all over again…
There is far more data in the study than we can share here, and I encourage you take a look at the complete findings in a whitepaper which is one of the most downloaded documents on Cisco.com here. Also, as we often get questions about the methodology – “are you taking into account compression advances?” Yes. “Are you taking into account mobile internet offload?” Absolutely. – please feel free to review that as well at www.cisco.com/go/vni or directly via this link.
And I encourage you to take a look at some of the various tools we have to explore the data even further – from the VNI widget that lets you customize the findings by service, region, or even country and even generates charts for you – to the applications such as the Global Internet Speed Test or VNI Pulse that allow you to join the more than 500,000 users around the world that not only contribute data to the VNI program but also are able to see how their own IP Traffic footprint contributes to the global trends. This year we also have an infographic that helps put some pictures to the numbers themselves. (See sidebox)
And of course, please feel free to use our data for your respective needs as well. All we ask is that you please source it as Cisco Visual Networking Index.
Stay tuned for more in SP360 on VNI throughout the year and even for some other announcements coming soon as Suraj Shetty highlighted on the Platform Blog today…and come back here again next June when the next iteration of the forecast from 2011-2016 is released as we get more insight into the ever evolving global IP landscape.