Video, Social Networking to Fuel Sixfold Increase in Global IP Traffic by 2012

June 24, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Europe & Middle East | Media & Entertainment | Retail & E-Commerce

Global IP Traffic is expected to reach more than half a zettabyte* in 2012, increasing by a factor of six from 2007 to 2012, according to Cisco, which said the growth would be driven by online video and Web 2.0 social-networking and collaboration applications.

Cisco‘s Visual Networking Index (VNI) also projects that total IP traffic will increase at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46% from 2007 to 2012, nearly doubling every two years. The result will be an annual bandwidth demand on the world’s IP networks of approximately 522 exabytes**.


Additional findings from the VNI, below:

In the consumer market, the advent of rich online video communications and entertainment, as well as social networking, has greatly increased the impact of online video on the network:

  • In 2012, internet video traffic alone will be 400 times the traffic carried by the US internet backbone in 2000.
  • Representative of this trend, internet video has jumped from 12% of global consumer internet traffic in 2006 to 22% in 2007.
  • Video-on-demand, IPTV, peer-to-peer (P2P) video, and internet video are forecast to account for nearly 90% of all consumer IP traffic in 2012.

Global business IP traffic is forecast to grow strongly at a CAGR of 35% from 2007 to 2012:

  • Increased broadband penetration in the small-business segment and the increased adoption of advanced video communications in the enterprise market are major drivers for business IP traffic growth.
  • Business IP traffic will grow fastest in the developing markets and Asia-Pacific.
  • In volume, North America will continue to have the most business IP traffic through 2012, followed by Asia-Pacific and Western Europe.


Additional forecasts:

  • Global IP traffic will reach 44 exabytes per month in 2012, compared with less than seven per month in 2007.
  • By comparison, global IP traffic in 2002 was five exabytes, which means that the volume of IP traffic in 2012 will be 100 times as large.
  • Monthly global IP traffic in December 2012 will be 11 exabytes more than in December 2011, a single-year increase that will exceed the amount by which traffic has increased in the eight years since 2000.
  • Mobile data traffic will roughly double each year from 2008 through 2012.

“The broad and increasing adoption of visual networking is having a significant impact on IP traffic growth for both consumer and business services markets worldwide,” said Suraj Shetty, vice-president of service provider marketing for Cisco.

“Until just a few years ago, ‘exabyte’ was an unheard-of term. However, because of the massive growth we’re seeing, by 2012 we will have to reorient our vocabulary once again, as the metric that we need then will be the zettabyte.”

*A zettabyte is equal to 1 trillion gigabytes, 1,000 exabytes, 250 billion DVDs.

**An exabyte is equal to 1 billion gigabytes, 1,000 petabytes, 250 million DVDs.

About the research: The Cisco VNI Forecast and Methodology, 2007-2012 and the associated updated Cisco “Approaching the Zettabyte Era” whitepaper are part of the Cisco Visual Networking Index, an ongoing Cisco initiative designed to provide quantitative and qualitative information regarding trends in IP network demand and usage. The VNI highlights key findings on various consumer and business Internet Protocol (IP) networking trends. The combination of these technologies represents what is known as visual networking.


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