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Cisco’s Visual Networking Index: Understanding the Evolution of Internet Users, Devices and Connections

Today’s networks are an essential part of business, education, government, and home communications. Many residential, business, and mobile Internet Protocol (IP) networking trends are being driven largely by the combination of video, social networking, and advanced collaboration applications, termed “visual networking.”  In fact, total Internet traffic has experienced dramatic growth in the past decade alone. Take a look at this interactive infographic from Cisco that shows key trends and forecasts the growth of global IP traffic from 2013 to 2018. You can choose a category and filter the geographic regions in the map to view the impact of global IP traffic. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI), globally, there will be 20.6 billion networked devices by 2018, up from 12.4 billion in 2013. VNI is part of Cisco’s ongoing effort to forecast and analyze the growth and use of IP networks worldwide. VNI also forecasts that 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 increased 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.

So who and what are responsible for the projected increase in overall internet traffic?

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2014 Cisco VNI Forecast: It’s not just about big numbers

Today, Cisco released the updated VNI Global IP Traffic and Service Adoption Forecasts, 2013 – 2018 (see media release). The key drivers of global IP traffic growth (network users, devices/connections, broadband speeds, and video consumption) continue to show increases that will create a greater global demand for IP network resources:

  • By 2018, there will be nearly four billion global Internet users (about 52% of the world’s population), up from 2.5 billion in 2013
  • By 2018, there will be 21 billion networked devices and connections globally, up from 12 billion in 2013
  • Globally, the average fixed broadband connection speed will increase 2.6-fold, from 16 Mbps in 2013 to 42 Mbps by 2018
  • Globally, IP video will represent 79% of all traffic by 2018, up from 66% in 2013

As a result of these fundamentals, we are projecting that global IP traffic will grow three-fold from 2013 to 2018 --reaching 1.6 Zettabytes annually by 2018 (a 21% CAGR over the forecast period).

While quantifying the projected growth Read More »

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The Zettabyte Era is Upon Us

As many of the regular readers know, this time of year is one of my favorite.  Sure, kids are out of school, the weather is nice, and that summer vacation is within reach… but the real kicker?  The release of the annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast – this time for the period between 2011 and 2016.

We’ve been doing this report for 6 years now, and it has provided a lens into many of the changes we’ve seen in the industry, and there are many:

  • Changes the units of measurement just to quantify the amount of traffic – moving from petabytes to exabytes to now – for the first time ever – zettabytes
  • Changes in the types of devices that are driving traffic – from primarily PCs to now smartphones, tablets, TVs and the Internet of Things
  • Changes in the services and applications we’re using those devices for – from primarily data-centric to ones that are far more experience-centric.

Throughout all of those changes, however, we have had a constant – and that is the seemingly endless appetite we have for bandwidth and the incredible opportunities the network provides for societies, businesses, service providers, and consumers like you and me.

This year, the Cisco VNI forecasts that traffic from 2011-2016 will grow four-fold to reach 1.3 Zettabytes by 2016.  A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes (10 to the 21st power in bytes = a lot).  To put that in perspective, all the IP traffic that has hit the global networks in the Internet years to date (1984-2012) has generated 1.2 Read More »

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Internet Traffic Continues to Explode, No End in Sight

“In 2016, over 1.3 Zettabytes of data will travel across Internet protocol (IP) networks. That’s over 10 times the traffic generated in 2008 and more than all the IP traffic that traversed global networks from 1984 to 2012 combined (1.2 Zettabytes).”

This estimate is from the latest Visual Networking Index (VNI) released today by Cisco which forecasts IP network traffic patterns from 2011 to 2016. The annual VNI rolling five year forecast has become a trusted industry barometer for how rapidly the use of global IP networks is expanding.

So what’s driving the explosive data growth?

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The Dawn of the Zettabyte Era [INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s common knowledge that the amount of online rich media consumption is increasing exponentially on an annual basis. But how much video traffic is projected over the next five years? And what does this growth really mean for global residential, business, and mobile subscribers and the service providers that support them? Well, to begin, we need to expand our traffic terminology. Today we live in a world of petabytes and exabytes but according to the latest findings from the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), we’ll need to add the term “zettabyte” to our vocabulary by 2015.

So, how much exactly is a zettabyte?

A zettabyte is roughly 1000 exabytes. To place that amount of volume in more practical terms, an exabyte alone has the capacity to hold over 36,000 years worth of HD quality video…or stream the entire Netflix catalog more than 3,000 times.  A zettabyte is equivalent to about 250 billion DVDs.

By 2015, the majority of global Internet traffic (61 percent) will be in some form of video—Internet video-to-PC, Internet video-to-TV, mobile video, et al.The “dawn of the Zettabyte era” will be an unprecedented online milestone that will occur in our lifetime.

To better understand the significance of a zettabyte, we have put together an in-depth infographic to provide a visual snapshot of our online future. The way the world uses the web is changing and this infographic provides a quick Cisco perspective of what’s to come.

Are you ready for the zettabyte era? Check out the infographic here.

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