Cisco forecasts annual IP traffic to hit 3.3Zb by 2021

08 June 2017 | Jason Mcgee-Abe

Cisco’s visual networking index (VNI) predicts global annual IP traffic to exceed three zettabytes by 2021.

Cisco VNI forecast infographic

Over the next five years (2016 – 2021), global digital transformation will continue to have a significant impact on the demands and requirements of IP networks according to today’s release of the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) complete forecast, which predicts global IP traffic to increase three-fold reaching an annual run rate of 3.3 zettabytes by 2021, up from an annual run rate of 1.2 zettabytes in 2016.

The forecast also predicts that there will be an increase of over 1 billion internet users, rising from 3.3 to 4.6 billion, and also that IoT applications will represent more than 50% of global devices and connections in five years’ time.

“As global digital transformation continues to impact billions of consumers and businesses, the network and security will be essential to support the future of the internet,” said Yvette Kanouff, SVP and GM of service provider business at Cisco.

“Driving network innovation with service providers will be key for Cisco to support the needs of their customers who want reliable, secure, and high quality connected experiences.” 

Other top-level indicators include the projected greater adoption of personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections—from 17.1 billion to 27.1 billion from 2016- 2021, average broadband speed advances—from 27.5Mbps to 53.0Mbps, and more video viewing—from 73% to 82% of total IP traffic. 

For the first time in the 12 years of the forecast, M2M connections that support internet of things (IoT) applications are calculated to be more than half of the total 27.1 billion devices an connections and will account for five% of global IP traffic by 2021. IoT innovations in connected home, connected healthcare, smart cars/transportation and a host of other next-generation M2M services are driving this incremental growth—a 2.4- fold increase from 5.8 billion in 2016 to 13.7 billion by 2021. With the rise of connected applications such as health monitors, medicine dispensers, and first-responder connectivity, the health vertical will be fastest-growing industry segment (30% CAGR). The connected car and connected cities applications will have the second- fastest growth (29% CAGRs respectively). 

Video will continue to dominate IP traffic and overall internet traffic growth—representing 80% of all internet traffic by 2021, up from 67% in 2016. Globally, there will be nearly 1.9 billion internet video users (excluding mobile-only) by 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016. The world will reach three trillion internet video minutes per month by 2021, which is five million years of video per month, or about one million video minutes every second. 

Emerging mediums such as live internet video will increase 15-fold and reach 13% of internet video traffic by 2021—meaning more streaming of TV apps and personal live streaming on social networks. While live streaming video is reshaping today’s online entertainment patterns, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are also gaining traction. By 2021, VR/AR traffic will increase 20-fold and represent one% of global entertainment traffic.

To Cisco • Infographic: VNI Complete Forecast Update, 2016-2021

Topics: Cisco, IP, IoT, connection, M2M, virtual reality, internet, video