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Cisco VNI Report Predicts Quadruple Surge in World Internet Traffic by 2016

Thursday, May 31st, 2012 (8:48 am) - Score 1,810

Global networking giant Cisco has released its latest annual 2012 Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast and revealed that worldwide IP (internet) traffic, fuelled by demand for online video and IPTV content, will hit 1.3 Zettabytes in 2016 (annual total). That’s roughly four times larger than the total amount of global IP traffic generated in 2011 (369 Exabytes).

The growth is expected to be driven by online video content and TV services, which will account for 54% of all consumer internet traffic in 2016 or 44,247 PetaBytes (PB) per month (up from 51% in 2011 / 10,433 PetaBytes per month) and that excludes video files sent over P2P file sharing networks. When all forms of video traffic are combined, including P2P, the total grows from 54% to a staggering 86% of global consumer traffic!

cisco consumer internet traffic 2011 to 2016

Some 94% of consumer Internet traffic was still generated by PCs in 2012, which is expected to fall to 81% by 2016 as more people shift to using an increasing number and variety of different devices like Tablets and Smartphone’s to get online.

The study also expects 3.4 billion Internet users to be online by 2016, which equates to 45% of the world’s projected population (7.5 billion people). This will create a total of nearly 19 billion global network connections (fixed and mobile); the equivalent of two and a half connections for every person on earth. Interestingly nearly half of all IP traffic in 2016 will flow over wifi (wireless) networks, although obviously those would still be supplied by fixed line solutions.

The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase at an almost identical rate to that of internet traffic growth, rising from 9Mbps (Megabits per second) in 2011 to 34Mbps in 2016.

As for the UK, Cisco expects the average broadband speed will grow 3.5-fold from 11.5Mbps in 2011 to 40Mbps in 2016 (those figures look more like ADVERTISED than real-world speeds). The average Mobile Broadband connection speed will apparently also grow 6-fold from 2011 to 2016, reaching 6,944Kbps (7Mbps) in 2016, which seems like a fair estimate.

It’s estimated that IP traffic in the UK will reach 3.4 Exabytes per month in 2016, up from 1.3 Exabytes per month in 2011, and online video content will account for 56% of all consumer internet traffic in 2016 (up from 49% in 2011).

Cisco Visual Networking Index 2011-2016

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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