Cisco: Internet Devices and Connections to Nearly Double by 2016

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You’ve heard of megabytes, gigabytes, probably even petabytes but the Internet now is being measured in zettabytes.

A zettabyte is equal to 1 trillion gigabytes; Cisco’s prediction is that annual global IP traffic will reach 1.3 zettabytes in 2016. It’s just part of the equipment giant’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2011-2016), released today, which anticipates Internet traffic will nearly double from 2011 to 2016. This year, Cisco has also developed a new complementary study the Cisco VNI Service Adoption Forecast which includes global and regional residential, consumer mobile, and business services growth rates.

So why the big jump? Factors include: an increasing number of devices; more Internet users around the world; faster broadband speeds; more video; and growth of Wi-Fi.

Cisco predicts there will be nearly 19 billion network connections in 2016, up from 10.3 billion in 2011 that’s almost 2.5 connections for every person on the globe. About 45 percent of the world’s population will be online in four years. The average fixed-broadband speed will be four times what it was last year.

Regionally, Asia Pacific will generate the most IP traffic, Cisco says, followed by North America. The Middle East and Africa will grow the fastest. India is expected to see the biggest increase in terms of a single nation, with consumer video being the biggest driver.

Despite the proliferation of mobile devices, PCs still generated 94 percent of consumer Internet traffic last year. Cisco says that number will drop to 81 percent by 2016 as device sales go nuts around the world.

On the business front, Cisco expects business Internet users to grow from 1.6 billion in 2011 to 2.3 billion by 2016. Desktop videoconferencing is projected to be the fastest-growing service, with 36.4 million users in 2011, increasing to a whopping 218.9 million users in 2016.

“Each of us increasingly connects to the network via multiple devices in our always-on connected lifestyles,” said Suraj Shetty, vice president of product and solutions marketing, Cisco. “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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