Visualize this: nearly half the Earth’s population – 3.6 billion people – connected to the Internet for communication, commerce, education, information, and entertainment.  Think that’s too futuristic? Think again. By 2017, less than five years from today, that will be our reality.

This prediction is one of several key findings from the newly released Cisco Visual Networking Index, 2012-2017, a highly regarded annual forecast of global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic now in its seventh year.

Let’s explore further the Internet of 2017, as projected by the updated VNI Forecast.

By 2017, IP traffic volumes and regional growth will continue to impress:

  • Total global IP traffic will have grown three-fold in five years
  • 1.4 zettabytes of IP traffic will traverse global IP networks – that’s more than 1 trillion gigabytes or the equivalent of 1 billion DVDs per day for an entire year
  • The Middle East and Africa will experience the fastest data traffic growth at 38% over five years, while the Asia Pacific region is the largest generator of traffic (36%) followed by North America (34%)

What about global devices/connections by 2017? We discover that:

  • Non-smartphones and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will have the greatest “device/connection share,” comprising 72% of all connected devices
  • Non-PCs will account for 49% of all IP traffic
  • Smartphones and tablets will generate 21% of global IP traffic

How about broadband speeds in 2017?

  • Globally, the average fixed broadband speed will reach 39 Mbps.
  • 55% of all global fixed broadband connections will be faster than 10 Mbps

Key IP networking trends and shifts by 2017 reveal that:

  • Metro IP traffic volume will be 2.4 times greater than long haul IP traffic
  • 56% of all Internet traffic will come from Wi-Fi connections
  • “Busy hour” Internet traffic will be three times greater than average hour Internet traffic
  • Nearly 25% of all IP traffic will be driven by IPv6 devices/connections

Imagine the opportunities and implications of the 2017 Internet — for countries and economies, service providers and enterprises, entrepreneurs and educators, workers and consumers, parents and kids — the list is practically endless…

For more information and insights from the latest VNI study, I invite you to explore the following links:

We hope this helps shape your vision and plan for the future—because 2017 will be here before you know it!


Thomas Barnett, Jr.

Director, SP Thought Leadership

Worldwide Service Provider Marketing Group