Note: Infographics for some of the findings discussed below can be found here. An interactive infographic with Global IP Traffic Forecast and Service Adoption (2013-2018) is also available.
According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Forecast and Service Adoption for 2013 to 2018, global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic will increase nearly three-fold over the next five years due to more Internet users and devices, faster broadband speeds and more video viewing.
Global IP traffic for fixed and mobile connections is expected to reach an annual run rate of 1.6 zettabytes* – more than one and a half trillion gigabytes per year by 2018. The projected annual IP traffic for 2018 will be greater than all IP traffic that has been generated globally from 1984 – 2013 (1.3 zettabytes).
The composition of IP traffic will shift dramatically in the coming few years. During the forecast period, the majority of traffic will originate from devices other than personal computers (PCs) for the first time in the history of the Internet. 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.
The Internet of Everything is also gaining momentum and by 2018 there will be nearly as many machine-to-machine (M2M) connections as there are people on earth. Smart cars will have nearly four M2M modules per car.
The World Cup and Internet Traffic
With the FIFA World Cup 2014 set to begin on Thursday (June 12), millions of people are expected to view games and/or highlights via the Internet. Video streaming and IP broadcast of the World Cup is anticipated to generate 4.3 exabytes of IP traffic, which is three times the amount of monthly IP traffic currently generated by Brazil (this year’s World Cup host city).
Just How Much?
- Global IP traffic is expected to reach 132 exabytes per month by 2018, which is the equivalent to:
- 8.8 billion screens streaming the FIFA World Cup final game in Ultra-HD/4K at the same time;
- 5.5 billion people binge-watching “Game of Thrones” Season 4 via video-on-demand in HD or 1.5 billion watching in Ultra-HD/4K;
- 4.5 trillion YouTube clips; and
- 940 quadrillion text messages
1) IP Traffic
- Mobile and portable devices other than PCs will drive the majority of traffic by 2018. In 2013, 33 percent of IP traffic originated with non-PC devices, however, by 2018, the non-PC share of IP traffic will grow to 57 percent. PC-originated traffic will grow at a 10 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), while other devices/connections will have higher traffic growth rates over the forecast period including TVs (18 percent), tablets (74 percent), smartphones (64 percent) and M2M connections (84 percent).
- Busy-hour Internet traffic is increasing faster than average Internet traffic. Busy-hour Internet traffic increased 32 percent in 2013, compared to 25 percent growth in average Internet traffic.
- Traffic originating in metro networks surpassed traffic traversing long-haul links in 2013. Metro traffic will grow nearly twice as fast as long-haul traffic from 2013 to 2018. This growth is due in part to content delivery networks, which will carry more than half of total Internet traffic by 2018.
2) IP Video
- IP video will be 79 percent of all IP traffic by 2018, up from 66 percent in 2013.
- Ultra HD video will account for 11 percent of IP video traffic by 2018, up from 0.1 percent in 2013. HD video will account for 52 percent of IP video traffic by 2018 (up from 36 percent) and SD will account for the remaining 37 percent (down from 64 percent).
3) IP Traffic by Access Type
- Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 61 percent of IP traffic by 2018. Wi-Fi will be 49 percent and cellular will be 12 percent. Fixed traffic will be only 39 percent of total IP traffic by 2018. In comparison, Wi-Fi was 41 percent; cellular was 3 percent; and fixed was 56 percent in 2013.
- Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 76 percent of Internet traffic by 2018 Wi-Fi will be 61 percent and cellular will be 15 percent. Fixed traffic will be only 24 percent of total Internet traffic by 2018. In comparison, Wi-Fi was 55 percent; cellular was 4 percent; and fixed was 41 percent in 2013.
- By 2018, there will be nearly 21 billion global network connections (fixed/mobile personal devices, M2M connections, et al.), up from about 12.4 billion connections in 2013.
- There will be 2.7 networked devices/connections globally per capita by 2018, up from 1.7 per capita in 2013.
- There will be 7.3 billion M2M connections globally, or nearly one M2M connection per capita, based on a 7.6 billon population by 2018.
- There will be 10 billion IPv6-capable fixed and mobile devices in 2018, up from 2 billion in 2013.
5) Increasing Broadband Speeds
- Global broadband speeds will reach 42 Mbps by 2018, up from 16 Mbps at the end of 2013.
- The majority of broadband connections, estimated at 55 percent, will be faster than 10 Mbps by 2018. Average broadband speeds in Japan and South Korea will approach 100 Mbps by 2018.
6) Advanced Service Adoption
- Online video will be the fastest growing residential internet service with a CAGR of 10 percent from 2013-2018, growing from 1.2 billion users to 1.9 billion users by 2018.
- Mobile location-based services will be the fastest growing consumer mobile service with a CAGR of 36 percent from 2013 to 2018, growing from 236 million users in 2013 to more than 1 billion users by 2018.
- Desktop and personal videoconferencing will be the fastest growing business Internet service with a CAGR of 45 percent from 2013 to 2018, growing from 37 million users in 2013 to 238 million users by 2018.
Key Regional & Country Growth Projections
- The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will generate the most IP traffic by 2018, with 47.6 exabytes (36 percent of the global IP traffic) per month. With the world’s largest population and the most devices/connections, APAC’s increased network usage will maintain its position as the top traffic-generating region through 2018.
- The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region will continue to be the fastest growing IP traffic region from 2013 – 2018 with a five-fold growth and a 38 percent CAGR
- By 2018, the highest traffic-generating countries will be the United States with 37 exabytes per month and China with 18 exabytes per month.
- The countries with the fastest IP traffic growth will be India with a 39 percent CAGR from 2013 to 2018, followed by Indonesia with a 37 percent CAGR.
See Also: Forecast Methodology