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Cisco: Puppy cams threaten Internet

Expert says growth of ambient video could strain global nets

By Jay Gillette, Network World
January 24, 2011 06:01 AM ET

Network World - HONOLULU -- Network demand will explode, fueled by unexpected growth in ambient video, like puppy cams and surveillance video, according to reports from the 33rd Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) conference held last week in Hawaii.

Several thousand technology professionals from across the Pacific hemisphere attended the annual conference. Delegates from the United States were the largest bloc, with Hong Kong SAR and China next, followed by Japan, India, Singapore and many Asia-Pacific regions and countries.

Telegeography Research presented estimates that global broadband Internet subscribers will climb to more than 700 million by 2013, with more than 300 million from Asia, compared to about 100 million in North America, and nearly 200 million in Europe.

GAUGING THE VOLUME: What to expect in data storage and network traffic growth in 2011

And Robert Pepper, Cisco vice president for global technology policy, presented findings from the company's Visual Networking Index, which showed that global IP traffic is expected to increase more than fourfold (4.3 times) from 2009 to 2014.

In fact, global IP traffic is expected to reach 63.9 exabytes per month in 2014. This is equivalent to 766.8 exabytes per year -- almost three-quarters of a zettabyte.The most surprising trend is that video traffic surpassed peer-to-peer volumes in 2010 for the first time.

An unexpected driver in this overall growth of Internet traffic is the surge in ambient video. This is so-called "puppy cam" traffic -- fixed video sources featuring pets, so-called "nanny cam" child care and health monitoring video streams, and especially security camera applications.

``This a much bigger deal than anyone thought,'' said Pepper. He added that the popular Shiba Inu Puppy Cam site was said to have more Internet viewing hours than all of ESPN online video. In fact, of the top online video sites in Europe last year, "three of the top 20 are ambient video, and these didn't exist a year ago."

Other key findings in the Cisco report are:

• Consumer-driven Internet traffic overwhelms business traffic in volume. This shifting composition will lead to 87% consumer traffic vs. 13% business traffic by 2014.

• The nearly 64 exabytes of global IP traffic per month projected for 2014 is equivalent to 16 billion DVDs, 21 trillion MP3s, or 399 quadrillion text messages.

• By 2014, the highest IP-traffic generating regions will be North America (19.0 exabytes per month), Asia Pacific (17.4 exabytes per month), Western Europe (16.2 exabytes per month) and Japan (4.3 exabytes per month). Asian traffic altogether will be highest in the world.

• The fastest growing IP-traffic regions for the forecast period (2009-2014) are Latin America (51 percent compound annual growth rate, 7.9-fold growth), the Middle East and Africa (45 percent CAGR, 6.5-fold growth), and Central Europe (38 percent CAGR, 5.1-fold growth).

All these changes, with larger volumes and changing user needs, require network providers and managers to prepare for new and unexpected demands on their infrastructure and operations.

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