Global IP Traffic to Triple by 2020, Cisco Forecasts

Video will account for 82% of all IP traffic in five years, up from 70% in 2015, according to a Cisco report.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Global IP traffic will almost triple at a compound annual growth rate of 22% over the next five years, according to Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast, 2015 to 2020.

Fueling a considerable share of the growth in IP traffic will be an additional one billion new users who are expected to join the global Internet community by 2020. Currently there are approximately three billion users on the Internet.

Yet the adoption of connected personal devices and the rise in deployment of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will have an even greater effect on global IP traffic, according to the report. During the next five years, 10 billion new devices and connections will be supported by global IP networks. By 2020, Cisco said it expects each person to have an average of 3.4 Internet-enabled devices, up from 2.2 devices per person in 2015. The increase would bring the total number of connected devices up to 26.3 billion from the 16.3 billion that were connected in 2015.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving IP traffic and growth in the market and is projected to only continue and grow within the study’s time frame. New network requirements and incremental traffic can be expected to rise due to an increase in video surveillance, smart meters, digital health monitors and other M2M services, according to the report. M2M connections will grow from 4.9 billion to 12.2 billion during the next few years. These devices will eventually represent 46% of total connected devices.

Following are statistical projections and new emerging trends for video cited in the report:

  • Video surveillance traffic nearly doubled in the past year and will grow 10-fold by 2020.
  • Internet video will increase four-fold between 2015 and 2020.
  • Business Internet video traffic will be 66% of business Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 44% in 2015.
  • Consumer Internet video traffic will be 82% of consumer Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 68% in 2015.
  • Virtual reality traffic quadrupled in the past year and will increase 61-fold by 2020.

Connected devices designed to monitor and track users health will grow from 144 million to 729 million from 2015 to 2020. However, the devices that will allow homes to be connected as well have the largest predicted volume of M2M connections and will grow from 2.4 billion in 2015 to 5.8 billion in 2020, making up almost half of all of these connections.

Hackers are also significantly contributing to the growth in IP traffic. Cisco reported that Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks – an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources – can represent as much as 10% of a country’s total IP traffic while they are happening.

For the first time in its annual forecast, Cisco partnered with Arbor Networks to help measure the current and future threats of DDoS attacks. The companies found that such attacks will increase from 6.6 million a year to 17 million attacks annually by 2020.

“These initial findings underscore the need for more comprehensive security measures to protect data and reduce network exposure to such risks,” the company said in the report.

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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