As network traffic is tipped to reach zettabyte levels by 2016, network vendor Cisco has said that peer-to-peer traffic, as a percentage of total internet traffic, will actually drop 23 per cent in the next four years.
In Cisco's 2011-2016 Visual Networking Index forecast released yesterday, the company forecasts that, by 2016, IP traffic is projected to reach 1.3 zettabytes (or 1.3 billion terabytes) globally, equating to 110 exabytes per month. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to generate the most IP traffic, at 40.5 exabytes per month in 2016, followed by North America. The United States will remain the biggest traffic generating country at 22 exabytes per month, followed by China at 12 exabytes per month.
There will be 2.5 network connections per person globally by 2016, or 18.9 billion in total, but the percentage that is connected to PCs will decline from 94 per cent to 81 per cent, with the increasing take up of smartphones and tablets.
Peer-to-peer traffic currently accounts for 77 per cent of all network traffic, or 4.6 exabytes per month in 2011. This is set to hit 10 exabytes by 2016, but it will only account for 54 per cent of all global network traffic in 2016, according to Cisco. The change, in part, is due to the growth of internet video users, which is set to increase from 792 million in 2011 to 1.5 billion in 2016.
There will be 23 million internet users in Australia with nearly 142 million network-connected devices by 2016 — equating to almost 6 devices, per person.
Bucking current trends of fixed line decline, Cisco predicts there will be 18 million fixed line internet users, up from 12 million in 2011. The average internet user will generate 30.1GB of traffic per month, a 577 per cent increase from 4.5GB per month that was generated in 2011.
Mobile traffic will grow twice as fast as fixed traffic between 2011 to 2016, with the average connection generating close to 3GB of mobile data traffic per month in 2016.
Suraj Shetty, vice president of Cisco's product and solutions marketing, said that as people start to have more than one internet-enabled device, the zettabytes just start piling up.
"Each of us increasingly connect to the network via multiple devices in our "always-on" connected lifestyles. Whether by video phone calls, movies on tablets, web-enabled TVs or desktop video conferencing, the sum of our actions not only creates demand for zettabytes of bandwidth, but also dramatically changes the network requirements needed to deliver on the expectations of this 'new normal'."