Internet growth Projection summary from the Cisco Visual Networking Index forecast

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The article covers the results of the annual Cisco Visual Networking Index forecast; which analyzes Internet protocol (IP) networking growth and trends worldwide.

The report quantitatively projects the volume of IP-traffic expected to travel public & private networks including: overall Internet, mobile data traffic generated by consumers & business users, global & regional residential, consumer mobile, and business services growth rates.

Through 2016, annual global IP traffic is forecast to be 1.3ZB (zeta-bytes), or a 1.3 trillion gigabytes. The projected increase of global traffic between 2015 & 2016 alone is more than 330EB (exabytes), which is almost the total amount of global IP traffic generated in 2011 (369 exabytes).

This level of traffic growth is driven by a number of factors:

  1. More Internet users: By 2016, there are expected to be 3.4 billion Internet users online; about 45% of the world’s projected population.
  2. Increasing #of devices: The ubiquity of mobile phones, tablets, and other smart devices as well as machine-to-machine “M2M” connections are driving up the demand for connectivity. By 2016, the forecast states there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections — almost 2.5 connections for each person on earth, — compared with 10.3 billion in 2011
  3. More video: By 2016, 1.2 million video minutes — the equivalent of 833 days (or over two years) — would travel the Internet every second.
  4. Faster broadband speeds: The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase nearly fourfold, from 9 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2011 to 34 Mbps in 2016.
  5. Wi-Fi growth: By 2016, over half of the world’s Internet traffic is expected to come from Wi-Fi connections.

Total expected growth in ‘bytes’:

Global IP traffic is expected to reach 1.3ZB (zettabytes) per year (110 exabytes per month) through 2016; nearly a 400% increase from approximately 31 exabytes per month in 2011.

Average global IP traffic in 2016 is expected to reach 150PB (petabytes) per hour, the equivalent of 278 million people streaming an HD movie (at an average streaming speed of 1.2 Mbps) simultaneously.

Regional IP traffic trends:

By 2016, the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to generate the most IP traffic (40.5EB exabytes per month), maintaining the top spot over North America (27.5 exabytes per month); which generated the second most amount of traffic.

The fastest-growing IP-traffic regions for the forecast period (2011-2016) are the Middle East and Africa (58% compound annual growth rate, for 1000% growth), and Latin America (49% CAGR, for 700% growth).

For fastest-growing IP traffic at the country level, India is expected to have the highest IP traffic growth rate with a 62% CAGR from 2011 to 2016. In a second-place tie, Brazil and South Africa both have 53 % CAGRs over the forecast period.

Through 2016, the highest traffic-generating countries will be the United States (22EB (exabytes) per month) and China (12EB per month).

Global device growth:

In 2016, the Index forecasts there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections, almost 2.5 connections for each person on earth.

In 2011, PCs generated 94% of consumer Internet traffic. This contribution is expected to fall to 81% by 2016, demonstrating the impact that an increasing number and variety of devices like tablets, smartphones, etc. are having on how consumers and businesses access and use the Internet.

By 2016, TVs are expected to account for over 6% of global consumer Internet traffic (up from 4% in 2011), and 18% of Internet video traffic (up from 7% n 2011); demonstrating the impact of Web-enabled TVs as a viable online option for many consumers.

Mobile broadband:

Global mobile Internet data traffic is forecast to increase 18 times from 2011 to 2016, to 10.8 exabytes per month (or 130 exabytes annually). Globally, mobile video is projected to be the fastest-growing consumer mobile service, going from 271 million users in 2011 to 1.6 billion users in 2016.

Globally, mobile consumers are forecast to grow from 3.7 billion in 2011 to 4.5 billion by 2016.

Globally, the Index suggests consumer SMS will be the most highly penetrated consumer mobile service. In 2011, there were 2.8 billion users (74% of consumer mobile users), increasing to 4.1 billion users (90% of consumer mobile users) by 2016.

Growth in internet video:

Globally, there are expected to be 1.5 billion Internet video users by 2016, up from 792 million Internet video users in 2011.


Global advanced video traffic, including three-dimensional (3D) and high-definition TV (HDTV), is projected to increase five times between 2011 and 2016.


Globally, the index suggests there will be eight billion IPv6-capable fixed and mobile devices in 2016, up from 1 billion in 2011.

Globally, 40 percent of all fixed and mobile networked devices will be IPv6-capable in 2016, up from 10% in 2011.

Global file sharing:

In 2016, global peer-to-peer traffic is projected to account for 54% of global consumer Internet file sharing traffic, down from 77% in 2011. On a quantity basis, however, the amount of peer-to-peer traffic is expected to increase from a rate of 4.6 exabytes per month in 2011 to 10 exabytes per month in 2016.

Global business IP check

Business IP videoconferencing is projected to grow 600% over the forecast period, growing more than two times as fast as overall business IP traffic, at a CAGR of 42% from 2011 to 2016.


Globally, there were 1.7 billion residential Internet users with fixed Internet access in 2011; the index forecasts there will be 2.3 billion residential Internet users with fixed Internet access by 2016.

Globally, digital TV is expected to be the fastest-growing digital television service, going from 694 million subscribers in 2011 to 1.3 billion subscribers in 2016.

Globally, voice over IP (VoIP) is projected to be the fastest-growing residential Internet service, going from 560 million users in 2011 to 928 million users in 2016.


Globally, business Internet users are projected to grow from 1.6 billion in 2011 to 2.3 billion in 2016.

Globally, 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.

Globally, business mobile location-based services (LBS) are forecast to be the fastest-growing business mobile service, with 27 million users in 2011, increasing to 158 million users by 2016.

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