Video will drive fourfold growth in web traffic

Michael Carroll
03 Jun 2010

Demand for video services will fuel a fourfold increase in global internet traffic by 2014, accounting for 91% of consumer IP traffic by that date, according to Cisco.

The infrastructure provider’s annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts total global web traffic will hit 766.8 exabytes by 2014 – equivalent to the data on 16 billion DVDs - with the increasing popularity of HD and 3D TV services driving the bulk of the growth.

An exabyte is 1000 petabytes.

The index predicts the global online video community will hit 1 billion users and that by the end of 2010 global video traffic will exceed P2P traffic – the largest source of traffic for the last ten years.

File sharing traffic is projected to reach 11 exabytes per month in 2014, with global business IP traffic hitting 7.7 exabytes per month, and mobile data 3.5 exabytes.

Operators in North America will need to be best prepared, with Cisco forecasting the region will generate 19 exabytes of IP traffic per month by 2014. Asia Pacific follows with 17.4 exabytes, Western Europe (16.2) and Japan (4.3).

Latin America will be the fastest-growing market, with IP traffic set to grow 51% during the period.

Web usage is also set to get more leisure-oriented, with Cisco forecasting consumer demand will account for 87% of global IP traffic per month in 2014, compared to 79% in 2009. Meanwhile, the proportion taken by business use will fall from 21% last year to 13% by 2014.

"Service providers are faced with evolving bandwidth and scalability requirements as residential, business and mobile consumers continue to demonstrate a healthy appetite for advanced video services across a variety of networks and devices.

Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager at Cisco’s service provision division, said the future IP networks needed to be intelligent and flexible enough to support a “tremendous variety of traffic” as more consumers accessed services across multiple devices.

The index measures actual data traffic and compares it with figures from several analysts to work out forecasts.

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