Shortly before we released this year’s Cisco VNI Forecast 2012-2017* on May 29th, I had a chance to contemplate the implications behind all the report’s data. The Forecast makes it clear that IP traffic will continue to grow “in leaps and bounds” through 2017, but there is so much more information lying hidden within the report.

* an annual projection of global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, now in its seventh year,
used by companies, analysts, media, academia, and governments wordlwide.
For a quick overview of this year’s findings, read Thomas Barnett’s VNI blog post.

Here are six significant conclusions that came about in my review of VNI’s findings and what they mean for the future functioning of the Internet:

Implication #1:  The network is a visual and mobile medium Video is becoming a part of nearly every networked experience, and “best effort” on the part of network providers is simply not feasible when it comes to the video experience. The Forecast makes it clear: networking = mobility. And there’s no one way to accommodate mobility growth, it’s a matter of combining at least four aspects: more spectrum in both licensed and unlicensed means** + more traffic offload + more capacity throughout the network (not just access) + more signaling to track the Internet of Everything.

**For more info, see the post
Cisco Calls on Congress and FCC to Provide More Spectrum for Broadband

Implication #2:  The impact of growth extends far beyond capacity — Quality of Service (QoS) is more relevant than ever, as is signaling, and latency.

Implication #3:  Increasing technology interdependencies is the “norm” – Three examples quickly come to mind: services are more difficult to categorize but are blended; Data Center / Cloud are subsumed into the network; applications are increasingly interacting with the network.

Implication #4:  An architectural approach to the network is required A powerful example of the impact and benefits of an architectural approach is the mobile architecture of the future: a fixed intelligent network with heterogeneous access.

Implication #5:  Network issues involve the entire ecosystem – Enterprises, Service Providers, content providers, application developers, vendors, consumers, policy makers, regulators, etc… We’re all in this together!

Implication #6:  The network is more relevant than ever – The network is revolutionizing lives, whether bringing better medical care to third world countries or re-designing urban centers in affluent nations. We all have a responsibility to optimize the network and to usher in even more opportunities for improving daily lives and societies as a whole.

These are a few of my main takeaways but because there is so much information on global, regional and service trends in the recent findings of Visual Networking Index, they certainly aren’t the only ones.

What are yours?


Doug Webster

Vice President