Fueled by an explosion of network-connected devices, the total amount of global Internet traffic will quadruple by 2015 and reach 966 exabytes per year, according to an internal study conducted by Cisco.
The number of network-connected devices will be more than 15 billion, twice the world's population, by 2015, Cisco found in its fifth annual Visual Networking Index forecast. And the projected increase in Internet traffic between 2014 and 2015 alone is 200 exabytes, which is greater than the total amount of IP traffic generated globally in 2010, Cisco says.
In 2015, global IP traffic is expected to reach 80.5 exabytes per month, up from approximately 20.2 exabytes per month in 2010. Average global IP traffic will reach 245 terabytes per second, equivalent to 200 million people streaming an HD movie simultaneously every day, Cisco says.
GROWTH SPURTS: The evolution of the Internet
In addition to the proliferation of connected devices like tablets, mobile phones, appliances and smart machines, traffic growth is driven by more users, faster broadband speeds and more video content, Cisco says. By 2015, there will be nearly 3 billion Internet users -- more than 40% of the world's projected population -- with an average fixed broadband Internet access speed of 28Mbps, up from 7Mbps in 2010.
And by 2015, these users and broadband connections will pump 1 million video minutes onto the 'Net every second, Cisco predicts. The global online video community will increase by approximately 500 million users by 2015, up from more than 1 billion Internet video users in 2010, the Cisco study found. (Also see: "John Chambers on the network")
PCs will still be the leading platform with which consumers connect to the Internet in 2015, but traffic generation from PCs will drop to 87% in 2015 from 97% in 2010. Cisco found in its study that 10% of global consumer Internet traffic and 18% of Internet video traffic will be consumed via Web-enabled TVs.
Cisco also found that global mobile Internet data traffic will increase 26 times from 2010 to 2015, and peer-to-peer traffic will account for 16% of global consumer Internet traffic in 2015, down from 40% in 2010. Business IP video conferencing is projected to grow sixfold over the forecast period -- at a compounded annual rate of 41% -- or more than two times as fast as overall business IP traffic.
Regionally, Asia Pacific will generate the most IP traffic -- 24.1 exabytes per month -- surpassing last year's leader, North America, at 22.3 exabytes per month. The fastest-growing IP-traffic regions for the forecast period are the Middle East and Africa, surpassing last year's leader, Latin America.