Massive Increase in Internet Traffic

Internet traffic globally is expected to reach 150 petabytes an hour by 2016

Cisco VIsual Networking Index Forecast sends the latest message predicting that Internet traffic will increase four times to 1.3 zettabytes (one zettabyte is equal to a trillion gigabytes) by 2016. It is expected for Internet traffic to reach 150 petabytes an hour, or "the equivalent of 278 million people streaming an HD movie ... simultaneously."

Cisco claims that the highest-traffic generating countries in 2016 will be the United States and China. The growth is mainly being driven by mobile devices like smart phones, tablets and other "smart devices," such as TV sets with Internet connections.

Also by 2016, there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections - "almost 2.5 connections for each person on earth" - compared with 10.3 billion network connections in 2011.

The Index shows that up until now 94 percent of consumer Internet traffic have been generated by PCs, but by 2016 that will decrease to 81 percent as mobile Internet data traffic is forecast to increase 18 times from 2011 to 2016.

There are some additional factors that will bring change and growth to the Web:

• By 2016, there will be 3.4 billion Internet users, making about 45 percent of the world's projected population.

• More than half of the world's Internet traffic is expected to come from Wi-Fi connections by 2016.

• The average fixed broadband speed will increase "nearly fourfold," from 9 megabits per second in 2011 to 34 megabits per second in 2016.

• By 2016, 1.2 million video minutes will "travel the Internet every second." In 2011, there were an estimated 792 million Internet video users; by 2016 there will be 1.5 billion. For businesses worldwide, "desktop videoconferencing is projected to be the fastest-growing service, with 36.4 million users in 2011, increasing to 218.9 million users in 2016."

As Suraj Shetty, Cisco's vice president of product and solutions marketing, said: "Each of us increasingly connects to the network via multiple devices in our always-on connected lifestyles. Whether by video phone calls, movies on tablets, web-enabled TVs, or desktop video conferencing, the sum of our actions not only creates demand for zettabytes of bandwidth, but also dramatically changes the network requirements needed to deliver on the expectations of this new normal."

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