Internet traffic to hit 4.7Zb by 2022 - surpassing 1984-2016 IP usage

28 November 2018 | James Pearce

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Figures from Cisco estimate that by 2022 there will be more IP traffic over global networks than in the entire history of the internet, surpassing 4.7 zettabytes that has been used in the last 32 years.

Figures from Cisco estimate that by 2022 there will be more IP traffic over global networks than in the entire history of the internet, surpassing 4.7 zettabytes that has been used in the last 32 years.

Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts more traffic will be created in 2022 than passed the internet between 1984 and 2016 overall, driven by the fact that over 60% of the global population will be internet users with more than 28 billion devices and connections online.

The VNI, which tries to map out the future of the internet, predicts that by 2022, 82% of all IP traffic will be video, with virtual and augmented reality traffic seeing particularly strong growth – up to over 4 exabytes per month from 0.33eb in 2017.

Global IP traffic is expected to reach 396 exabytes per month by 2022, up from 122 exabytes per month in 2017. That’s 4.8 zettabytes of traffic per year by 2022.

There will be 4.8 billion internet users by 2022. That’s up from 3.4 billion in 2017 or 45 percent of the world’s population. There will be an average of 3.6 connected devices per person in use by 2022, according to Cisco.

A large chunk of this will be made up of machine-to-machine connections, which will make up more than half of all devices – up from 34% in 2017. To support this, global broadband, wifi and mobile speeds will more than double to an average of 54Mbps.

The biggest growth area will be in Africa, which is expected to see compound annual growth rates of 41%, hitting 21Eb by 2022 – six times the amount of data being used in 2017.

APAC will continue to lead, with 173Eb per month predicted by 2022 – four times the current amount according to Cisco. North America will see three-times growth, with 108Eb per month by 2022. This is more than double Western Europe which, despite three-times growth, will see 50Eb  per month by 2022.

It is the 13th year Cisco has released its VNI Complete Forecast, which relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco's own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption.

“The size and complexity of the internet continues to grow in ways that many could not have imagined. Since we first started the VNI Forecast in 2005, traffic has increased 56-fold, amassing a 36 percent CAGR with more people, devices and applications accessing IP networks,” said Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider Business, Cisco.

“Global service providers are focused on transforming their networks to better manage and route traffic, while delivering premium experiences. Our ongoing research helps us gain and share valuable insights into technology and architectural transitions our customers must make to succeed.”