Web traffic will increase by 46 percent year-on-year between now and 2012, claims a report by Cisco Systems.

Video and social networking - dubbed 'visual networking' by Cisco's Visual Networking Index - will be responsible for the huge increase, accounting for nearly 90 percent of IP traffic by 2012.

And its not only consumers and their demand for sites such as Google's YouTube and the BBC iPlayer that's fuelling the growth. The report highlights that video conferencing in businesses will grow at increase by 35 percent in the same period.

The report also claims that by 2012 web traffic will be measured in exabytes (1bn GB) with the use of zettabytes (1,000bn GB) following soon after.

The predicted traffic increase means that the plan to upgrade the UK's ageing network to fibre cables is even more important to ensure a web meltdown is prevented.