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Cisco: Global IP Traffic To Grow Threefold By 2020

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Study also predicts smartphone traffic will overtake PC traffic by 2020, as 52 percent of the globe gets online

The continued growth of the Internet of Things is set to cause a three-fold increase in IP traffic across the world over just the next four years, new predictions have claimed.

A surge in connected personal devices around the world will mean that by 2020 there will be 26 billion connected devices across the world, up from 16 billion connections in 2015, according to research conducted by Cisco.

IP Growth

The findings were included in Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index forecast (VNI), which also estimated that by 2020, there will be 4.1 billion internet users, up from the current figure of around three billion in 2016, signifying 52 percent of the world’s population.

smartphone choice platform © Adam RadosavljevicShutterstockThe massive explosion of IP traffic is expected to reach an annual run rate of 2.3 zettabytes by 2020. This is a hugely expansive number, as a single zettabyte is equal to 1,024 exabytes, with one exabyte is equal to 1,024 petabytes, which is the equivalent of 1,000 terabytes (TB) or one million gigabytes (GB).

The average internet user alone is predicted to generate 93.9 gigabytes of internet traffic per month in 2020, up 135 percent from 40.0 gigabytes per month in 2015. And it seems that the bulk of this data will be video traffic, with Cisco predicting that IP video will be 82 percent of all IP traffic by 2020, up from 70 percent in 2015.

In the UK IP traffic is set to grow three-fold from 2015-2020, as the equivalent of every film ever made crossing the country’s IP networks every 46 minutes. This is after 29 percent growth in IP traffic in 2015.

Other UK stats include the prediction that British mobile data traffic will grow seven-fold from 2015-2020, with video traffic set to grow nine-fold in the same period. And 84 percent of fixed broadband connections will be faster than 10 Mbps, up 62 percent but still not reaching the governments targets.

“The digital transformation is happening now for billions of consumers and businesses users across the globe,” said Doug Webster, VP of service provider marketing at Cisco.

Smartphone Overtakes PC

But beside these headline grabbing stats, Cisco’s VNI also contained other useful titbits. For example it predicts that a key global trend is the Internet of Things, with Cisco stating that that M2M connections will grow nearly 2.5-fold from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 12.2 billion by 2020.

Big growth drivers for M2M include video surveillance, smart meters, asset/package tracking, digital health monitors and next-gen M2M services. Indeed, it feels that the connected health sector will grow more than 5-fold from 2015-2020

And connected devices are predicted to grow, with Cisco predicting that smartphone traffic will surpass PC traffic, as consumers and business users increasingly access IP networks and the Internet from their mobile devices, rather than PCs.

“By 2020, 71 percent of total IP traffic will originate with non-PC devices including tablets, smartphones, and televisions, compared to 47 percent in 2015,” said Cisco.

“By 2020, smartphones will generate 30 percent of total IP traffic, while PC’s total IP traffic contribution will fall to 29 percent,” it predicted.

And this growing dependence on mobile and fixed-line broadband networks also continues to raise security concerns. Cisco teamed up with Arbor Networks to predict that DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks represent up to 10 percent of a country’s total Internet traffic while they are occurring.

Over the next five years, DDoS attacks are projected to increase from 6.6 million to 17 million attacks, the two firms said.

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