Internet Traffic Set to Hit 2 Zettabytes by 2019

Every year for the last ten years, Cisco has produced an annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) report that aims to forecast Internet traffic. As has been the case for the last decade, the new 2014 forecast once again is showing continued growth as the relentless demand for Internet bandwidth is set to grow unabated.

The new forecast, which covers the period of 2014 to 2019, now expects IP traffic to hit a new high of 2 zettabytes in 2019. Looking at the traffic from a monthly perspective, in 2014 Cisco pegs monthly IP traffic at 59.9 exabytes, while in 2019 the number will reach 168 exabytes per month.

As has been the case in past VNI reports, the growing number of Internet users are a key driver for continued bandwidth growth. For 2014, Cisco reports that there were 2.8 billion Internet users, which will growth to 3.9 billion by 2019. The other recurring trend is the increasing number of devices, with 14 billion devices on the Internet in 2014, growing to 24 billion in 2019.

Internet bandwidth usage is being further accelerated by increasing broadband speeds. Cisco predicts that in 2019, the average fixed broadband speed will hit 42.5 Mbps. For 2014, Cisco has pegged the average fixed broadband speed at 20.3 Mbps, which stands in stark opposition to other industry reports. Akamai’s fourth quarter State of the Internet report found that the global average connection speed was 4.5 Mbps.

Cisco had previously released its mobile VNI report in February, forecasting that mobile data traffic would hit 292 exabytes by 2019.

Back in 2011, Cisco’s VNI forecast predicted that global IP traffic would hit 966 Exabytes in 2015.

“It took 32 years – from 1984 to 2016 – to generate the first zettabyte of IP traffic annually,” Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Products and Solutions Marketing, Cisco, said in a statement. “However, as this year’s Visual Networking Index forecasts, it will take only three additional years to reach the next zettabyte milestone when there will be more than 2 zettabytes of IP Traffic annually by 2019.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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