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Welcome to The Exabyte Era

The next big wave of IP traffic growth is upon us, which will be having dramatic impacts on the providers and their networks. At the “Core” of it all (please forgive the pun and foreshadowing…) is the empowered consumer, who is using video and Web 2.0 networked-based applications in ways unforeseen just a few years ago and, in turn, is helping to inspire major changes at the business customers as well. Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of ATT, recently made a comment that the bandwidth glut of the past is gone and, ironically, was exhausted by “primitive” applications (Click here for a Light Reading story of Mr. Stephenson’s comments) -- as more sophisticated applications come about into the mainstream, such as telepresence and more high-definition video, the need for bandwidth will sky-rocket.From Cisco’s perspective, we are projecting this surge in the amount of bandwidth required to be massive, growing from 6.6 exabytes a month in 2007 to nearly 29 exabytes per month — more than quadrupling in less than a half decade. To put this in context, 29 exabytes a month is equivalent to:29,000,000,000 Gigabytes.Or nearly 144 times all of the world’s printed matter.Or nearly six times all the words spoken. Ever.Or 7,250,000,000 DVDs streamed online.Or 1160 times the amount supported by the U.S. Internet backbone in 2000.These growth figures were gained from a modeling exercise we did using third party analyst forecasts on service growth and then, with the base assumptions on the use of those services, determined the resulting traffic impact on the network itself. Such insight helps both Cisco and our SP customers prepare for what’s ahead as implications are wide-ranging throughout the network including the hub of it all, the Core, which we’ll be talking about more soon. I’ll cover this study further in a future post, and, if you just can’t wait, please check out the great whitepaper that Arielle Sumits, our lead researcher on this topic, put together on the study.In the interim, don’t forget to register for the big announcement and launch event we have planned for March 4th. I’d very much welcome your thoughts on it.Until then, thanks for reading,Doug

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