Cisco predicts more IP traffic in the next five years than in the history of the Internet

SAN JOSE, California – November 27, 2018 – The internet is made up of thousands of public and private networks around the world. And since it came to life in 1984, more than 4.7 zettabytes of IP traffic have flowed across it. That’s the same as all the movies ever made crossing global IP networks in less than a minute.

Yet the new Visual Networking Index (VNI) by Cisco predicts that is just the beginning. By 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior ‘internet years’ combined up to the end of 2016. In other words, more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the 32 years since the internet started. Where will that traffic come from? All of us, our machines and the way we use the internet. By 2022, 60 percent of the global population will be internet users. More than 28 billion devices and connections will be online. And video will make up 82 percent of all IP traffic.

“The size and complexity of the internet continues to grow in ways that many could not have imagined. Since we first started the VNI Forecast in 2005, traffic has increased 56-fold, amassing a 36 percent CAGR with more people, devices and applications accessing IP networks,” said Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider Business, Cisco. “Global service providers are focused on transforming their networks to better manage and route traffic, while delivering premium experiences. Our ongoing research helps us gain and share valuable insights into technology and architectural transitions our customers must make to succeed.”

Key predictions for 2022

Cisco’s VNI looks at the impact that users, devices and other trends will have on global IP networks over a five-year period. From 2017 to 2022, Cisco predicts:

  1. Global IP traffic will more than triple
    • Global IP traffic is expected to reach 396 exabytes per month by 2022, up from 122 exabytes per month in 2017. That’s 4.8 zettabytes of traffic per year by 2022.
    • By 2022, the busiest hour of internet traffic will be six times more active than the average. Busy hour internet traffic will grow by nearly five times (37 percent CAGR) from 2017 to 2022, reaching 7.2 petabytes [1] per second by 2022. In comparison, average internet traffic will grow by nearly four times (30 percent CAGR) over the same period to reach 1 petabyte by 2022.
  2. Global internet users will make up 60 percent of the world’s population
    • There will be 4.8 billion internet users by 2022. That’s up from 3.4 billion in 2017 or 45 percent of the world’s population.
  3. Global networked devices and connections will reach 28.5 billion
    • By 2022, there will be 28.5 billion fixed and mobile personal devices and connections, up from 18 billion in 2017—or 3.6 networked devices/connections per person, from 2.4 per person.
    • More than half of all devices and connections will be machine-to-machine by 2022, up from 34 percent in 2017. That’s 14.6 billion connections from smart speakers, fixtures, devices and everything else, up from 6.1 billion.
  4. Global broadband, Wi-Fi and mobile speeds will double or more
    • Average global fixed broadband speeds will nearly double from 39.0 Mbps to 75.4 Mbps.
    • Average global Wi-Fi connection speeds will more than double from 24.4 Mbps to 54.0 Mbps.
    • Average global mobile connection speeds will more than triple from 8.7 Mbps to 28.5 Mbps.
  5. Video, gaming and multimedia will make up more than 85 percent of all traffic
    • IP video traffic will quadruple by 2022. As a result, it will make up an even larger percentage of total IP traffic than before—up to 82 percent from 75 percent.
    • Gaming traffic is expected to grow nine-fold from 2017 to 2022. It will represent four percent of overall IP traffic in 2022.
    • Virtual and augmented reality traffic will skyrocket as more consumers and businesses use the technologies. By 2022, virtual and augmented reality traffic will reach 4.02 exabytes/month, up from 0.33 exabytes/month in 2017.

Regional IP traffic growth details (2017 – 2022)

  • APAC: 173 exabytes/month by 2022, 32 percent CAGR, four-times growth
  • North America: 108 exabytes/month by 2022, 21 percent CAGR, three-times growth
  • Western Europe: 50 exabytes/month 2022, 22 percent CAGR, three-times growth
  • Central & Eastern Europe: 25 exabytes/month by 2022, 26 percent CAGR, three-times growth
  • Middle East and Africa: 21 exabytes/month by 2022, 41 percent CAGR, six-times growth
  • Latin America: 19 exabytes/month by 2022, 21 percent CAGR, three-times growth

Covering 2017-2022, some of the more interesting Canada-specific findings in the forecast include::

  • In Canada, there will be 36 million total Internet users (95% of population) by 2022, up from 32 million (89% of population) in 2017.
  • In Canada, there will be 419.4 million networked devices by 2022, up from 237.4 million in 2017.
  • In Canada, IP traffic will grow 2-fold from 2017 to 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 17%.
  • In Canada, IP traffic will reach 156 Gigabytes per capita by 2022, up from 74 Gigabytes per capita in 2017.
  • By 2022, the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross Canada’s IP networks every 59 minutes.
  • In Canada, Internet traffic will grow 2.5-fold from 2017 to 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 20%.
  • Canada’s Internet traffic by 2022 will be equivalent to 14 billion DVDs per year, 1 billion DVDs per month, or 2 million DVDs per hour.
  • Canadian Internet traffic by 2022 will be equivalent to 79x the volume of the entire Canadian Internet in 2005.
  • In Canada, mobile data traffic by 2022 will be equivalent to 2x the volume of the entire Canadian Internet in 2005.
  • In Canada, 62 billion minutes (118,171 years) of video content will cross the Internet each month by 2022. That’s 23,634 minutes of video streamed or downloaded every second.
  • In Canada, gaming traffic will grow 9-fold from 2017 to 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 54%.
  • In Canada, there will be 419.4 million networked devices by 2022, up from 237.4 million in 2017.
  • In Canada, there will be 11.0 networked devices per capita by 2022, up from 6.5 per capita in 2017.
  • In Canada, M2M modules will account for 67% (279.5 million) of all networked devices by 2022, compared to 50% (117.9 million) in 2017, (18.8% CAGR).
  • In Canada, the average Internet user will generate 123.4 gigabytes of Internet traffic per month by 2022, up 138% from 51.9 gigabytes per month in 2017, a CAGR of 19%.
  • In Canada, the average mobile connection will generate 4,229 megabytes of mobile data traffic per month by 2022, up from 1,278 megabytes in 2017.

More regional data can be found here: Cisco VNI Complete Forecast Highlights Tool

Cisco Complete VNI Forecast

The Cisco Complete VNI Forecast includes global, regional, and country-level projections and trends associated with fixed and mobile networks. The full report includes additional information and analysis on IoT by industry vertical, IPv6 adoption, traffic growth by application, traffic patterns, cord cutting implications, Wi-Fi hotspots, broadband network performance and network security issues.

Cisco VNI Methodology

The Cisco VNI Complete Forecast for 2017 to 2022 relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco’s own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption. A detailed methodology description is included in the complete report. Over its 13-year history, Cisco® VNI research has become a highly regarded measure of the internet’s growth. National governments, network regulators, academic researchers, telecommunications companies, technology experts and industry/business press and analysts rely on the annual study to help plan for the digital future.

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[1] A petabyte is equal to 1,000 terabytes or one million gigabytes.



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