Cisco VNI: Annual internet traffic to grow 20% by 2018

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) has been around almost as long as this newsletter/blog, and this year’s predictions suggest that annual internet traffic will grow more than 20% over the next four years. Not surprisingly, video in general and HD/4K video in particular are responsible, with mobile-to-mobile devices driving much of the growth. IP video is expected to make up 79% of all IP traffic by 2018, up from 66% in 2013.

The survey is also predicting a shift in traffic composition, suggesting that between now and 2018 most traffic will originate from devices other than personal computers. In addition, Cisco predicts that “Wi-Fi traffic will exceed wired traffic for the first time and high-definition (HD) video will generate more traffic than standard definition (SD) video,” according to the company’s news release. According to the survey, Wi-Fi connections will generate 61% of IP traffic by 2018, while cellular data services will contribute 15% of traffic. 

The fastest business Internet service growth will come from desktop and personal videoconferencing, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45% from 2013 to 2018, with the user base growing from 37 million users in 2013 to 238 million by 2018.

Cisco predicts multiple implications for service providers resulting from the evolving traffic demand and composition. First, carrier networks will need to adapt to the increasing number of devices with enhanced security and service prioritization; Wi-Fi will become increasingly important to offload mobile devices and connectivity. The uptake of advanced video services, such as HD/ultra HD video, can create new bandwidth and scalability requirements.

Commenting on the research results, Doug Webster, Vice President of Products and Solutions Marketing at Cisco, said in a statement, "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."

To read more results, including data by region or to access tools that can sort and chart custom copies of the data, please click here. Our thanks to Cisco for assembling and publishing this research.

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