By 2018, there will be nearly four billion global Internet users (about 52% of the world’s population), up from 2.5 billion in 2013, according to Cisco's newly updated VNI Global IP Traffic and Service Adoption Forecasts, 2013 – 2018. By that time, there will be 21 billion networked devices and connections globally, up from 12 billion in 2013.
More users, more connected devices and more usage means that global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic will increase nearly three-fold over the next five years to reach an annual run rate of 1.6 zettabytes – more than one and a half trillion gigabytes per year by 2018. Ultra HD video (4K) is a wildcard that could drive traffic even higher.
Some highlights from Cisco's VNI:
- Video streaming and IP broadcast of the World Cup is anticipated to generate 4.3 exabytes of IP traffic, which is three times the amount of monthly IP traffic currently generated by Brazil.
- Globally, the average fixed broadband connection speed will increase 2.6-fold, from 16 Mbps in 2013 to 42 Mbps by 2018
- The majority of broadband connections, estimated at 55 percent, will be faster than 10 Mbps by 2018. Average broadband speeds in Japan and South Korea will approach 100 Mbps by 2018.
- Globally, IP video will represent 79% of all traffic by 2018, up from 66% in 2013.
- At the end of 2013, 33% of IP traffic and 15% of consumer Internet traffic originated from non-PC devices.
- By 2018, 57% of IP traffic and 52% of consumer Internet traffic will originate from non-PC devices.
- By 2018, wired networks will account for 39% of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile networks will account for 61% of IP traffic.
- In 2013, wired networks accounted for the majority of IP traffic at 56%, Wi-Fi accounted for 41%, and mobile or cellular networks accounted for 3% of total global IP traffic.
- IP video will be 79 percent of all IP traffic by 2018, up from 66 percent in 2013.
- The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will generate the most IP traffic by 2018, with 47.6 exabytes (36 percent of the global IP traffic) per month.
- By 2018, the highest traffic-generating countries will be the United States with 37 exabytes per month and China with 18 exabytes per month.
- Mobile network connection speeds will increase two-fold by 2018. The average mobile network connection speed (1,387 Kbps in 2013) will exceed 2.5 megabits per second (Mbps) by 2018.
- By 2018, 4G will be 15 percent of connections, but 51 percent of total traffic. By 2018, a 4G connection will generate 6 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection.
"Our first Cisco Visual Networking Index nine years ago established the zettabyte as a major milestone for global IP traffic. Today, we are firmly in the ‘Zettabyte Era' and witnessing incredible innovations and shifts in the industry. 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," stated Doug Webster, Vice President of Products and Solutions Marketing, Cisco.