Cisco study: More users = more devices = more connections =

More traffic to be generated in the next five years than in the previous 28 combined

Global fixed and mobile IP traffic will grow three-fold between 2012 and 2017, according to Cisco's latest Visual Networking Index (VNI), which was released this week. It is expected to reach an annual run rate of 1.4 zettabytes, or more than a trillion gigabytes per year, by 2017.

That's more global traffic than that generated worldwide from 1984 - 2012 combined, the Cisco study states.

Driving this growth will be more users, more connected devices, faster speeds and increased video traffic. Cisco expects about 3.6 billion Internet users by 2017, representing almost half of the world's projected population of 7.6 billion, vs. 32% of the world's population in 2012.

The average Internet-enabled household will more than double the amount of traffic it generated last year too, Cisco says.

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More than 19 billion connections - fixed/mobile devices, and machine-to-machine connections - will exist by then as well, up from 12 billion connections in 2012. Half of all IP traffic will come from non-PC devices like tablets, smartphones, machine-to-machine connections and TVs. These types of devices were responsible for generating 26% of Internet traffic in 2012.

The average fixed broadband speed will more than triple to 39Mbps. Speeds grew 30% between 2011 and 2012, to 11.3Mbps from 8.7Mbps, the Cisco VNI found. But Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of Internet traffic by 2017.

There will be nearly 2 billion Internet video users by 2017, double the number from last year. They will generate 3 trillion Internet video minutes per month, or more than two years' worth of video every second, the VNI states. In the enterprise, video will account for almost 60% of all business Internet traffic in 2017, up from 31% in 2012.

Overall business IP traffic will nearly triple between 2012 and 2017, the Cisco study found, but it will account for slightly less: 18% vs. 20% in 2012, compared to 82% and 80% for consumer. There will be over a half billion more business Internet user by 2017 too, an increase of 40% from 2012.

The "Internet of Things" will take off too over the five year period. Machine-to-machine connections will triple by 2017 while traffic will grow 20-fold, making up 3% of global IP traffic, the Cisco study says. Driving it are video surveillance, smart meters, asset/package tracking, and digital health monitors, among other applications.

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