According to Cisco's seventh annual Visual Networking Index (VNI), global IP traffic is set to rise at a dramatic compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 per cent between 2012 to 2017 globally, representing a three-fold upscale when comparing the beginning and end of the forecast period.
While Cisco global technology policy vice-president, Robert Pepper, believes this rate will slow town, he said the amount of global traffic in 2017 will amount to 1.4 zettabytes (ZBs), which is larger than the history of the Internet from 1984 to 2012 (1.2ZB).
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Pepper said there are four drivers behind this: more users; users connecting more devices; growing network and broadband speeds; more media rich content.
Locally, Australia will not be adding a whole lot of new users in comparison to other markets and the global average, but each user will have more devices and access greater amounts of media rich content, which will be accelerated by faster broadband.
Cisco pinpoints the Australian CAGR for network traffic to be 17 per cent, meaning it will double over the next five years. Pepper said this is a huge number in terms of incremental growth.
Cisco's VNI highlights that in 2017 and 2018, half of the world's population will be online, with Asia-Pacific (APAC) trailing the average with 46 per cent. The growing adoption of Internet is mirroring the adoption of the mobile phone. In Australia, 89 per cent will have Internet access, and 92 per cent in New Zealand; this is roughly the same as in the US.
Average Internet speeds are on the rise, and while Australia is currently lagging the average, it will lead in five years, growing 8.5-fold from 8.8Mbps to 75Mbps from 2012 to 2017. Cisco predicts mobile connections to reach 8Mbps in 2017, with average Wi-Fi speeds from mobile devices forecast to reach 30Mbps.
By 2017, each person in Australia will have six devices connected to the Internet. These will not only be restricted to the smartphone, tablet, and PC, but extend to machine to machine (M2M) products, such as fitness wristbands.
The hot spots
According to Pepper, a key takeaway from this year's VNI is the divide between Australian peak hour and average network traffic. Presently, peak traffic is 3.5 times greater than the average, and is growing at a CAGR of 24 per cent, compared to the 18 per cent CAGR of the average.
This is creating somewhat of a 'prime time of the Internet' between 9pm and 1am, mirroring the habits of television viewership. This consumption model is being driven by video.
Another significant takeaway is the dramatic growth in M2M devices; Cisco forecasts this category to grow 11 per cent CAGR, and that by 2017, M2M and handsets will have 77 per cent of the device share.
This three-fold incremental growth will see eight billion devices connected M2M by 2017, with traffic on them to grow 20 times, not including products using RFID chips.
The proliferation in M2M is a result of the rise of IPv6-capable connections, in combination with IPv6-capable devices, and content providers' ability to support it.