Cisco says mobile, video streaming will drive global IP growth

Summary:More internet users and devices, faster broadband speeds and more video viewing will result in global IP traffic reaching 1.6 zettabytes by 2018.

More Internet users and devices, faster broadband speeds and more video viewing will result in global IP traffic reaching 1.6 zettabytes by 2018, so says the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index. 

Cisco estimates that video will account for 79 percent of all IP traffic in 2018, climbing from 65 percent in 2013, and that people will move from owning an average of 1.7 devices in 2013 to owning 2.7 devices in 2018. 

Perhaps the more interesting takeaways from the index stem from how and where IP traffic will originate. About 4 billion people, or 52 percent of the global population, will be online. For the first time in the history the internet, the majority of traffic will not come from PCs — mobile and portable devices, which accounted for 33 percent of IP traffic in 2013, will take a 57 percent share of non-PC traffic by 2018.

Cisco breaks down the compound annual growth rates as follows:

  • TVs — 18 percent

  • Tablets — 74 percent

  • Smartphones — 64 percent

  • M2M connections — 84 percent

As the clear leader of the CAGRs, Cisco has high expectations for M2M, and forecasts that there will be nearly as many M2M connections as there are people on earth (upwards of 7 billion) within five years.

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On the broadband front, Cisco says Japan and South Korea will reach average speeds of 100 Mbps by 2018. The rest of the world will reach 42 Mbps by 2018, up from 16 Mbps at the end of 2013. 

Doug Webster, VP of products and marketing for Cisco, said the index shows the world is now firmly in the "Zettabyte Era": 

"Our first Cisco Visual Networking Index nine years ago established the zettabyte as a major milestone for global IP traffic. The reality of the Internet of Everything (IoE), the increasing demand for network mobility, and the emergence of 4K video are among the key trends highlighted in this year's forecast that represent significant opportunities for service providers today and in the immediate future."

Topics: Networking, Cisco, Mobility


Natalie Gagliordi is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in Louisville, Kentucky, covering business technology for ZDNet. She previously worked as the editor of Kiosk Marketplace, an online B2B trade publication that focused on interactive self-service technology, while also contributing to additional websites that covered retail tec... Full Bio

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