Cisco: By 2013 Video Will Be 90 Percent Of All Consumer IP Traffic And 64 Percent of Mobile

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By 2013, annual global IP traffic will reach two-thirds of a zettabyte, according to a new forecast of IP traffic issued by Cisco today. What is a zettabyte? It is a trillion gigabytes, dummy. (I had to look that up too). And that number represents more than a fivefold increase in IP traffic from today. (See the forecast in the tables below).

What is driving this growth is video. Cisco forecasts that 90 percent of consumer IP traffic (which makes up the majority of total IP traffic) will be video in 2013. Cisco also predicts that mobile data traffic will also be overtaken by video, reaching 64 percent of total mobile IP traffic by 2013. Part of this might be wishful thinking on Cisco’s part, which needs broadband usage growth to continue apace in order to sell its networking gear. But part of it is also the fact that these numbers are based on the percentage of bits traveling over those broadband pipes, and it doesn’t take a lot of fat video files to fill those up.

Cisco is a big believer in the growth of mobile video, expecting it to grow from 33 petabytes a month in 2008 to 2,184 petabytes (or 2 exabytes) a month in 2013, which represents a 131 percent compound annual growth rate. (No wonder it bought the maker of the Flip video camera). As impressive as those numbers sound, at that point, mobile data will only make up 4 percent of total IP traffic. (Good thing Apple finally decided to get with the program and add video to its upcoming iPhone 3GS). In the chart below, you can see how big a role Cisco expects video to play in mobile data traffic. Video is the green part of the bar graphs. Standalone data (dark blue) is also expected to grow quickly.

The devices expected to drive this 131 percent annual growth in mobile data are not so much current 3G mobile handsets, but next-gen “3.5G and above” (in green), as well as laptops and other portable computers (in orange). By 2013, I bet it will be pretty hard to tell the difference between those two segments. Until then, Cisco is offering free apps for the iPhone and Blackberry that lets you check your network speed on the go.

Table 1. Global IP Traffic, 2008-2013

IP Traffic, 2008-2013

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

CAGR 2008-2013

By Type (PB per month)

Internet

8,140

11,716

16,701

23,843

31,839

40,428

38%

Non-Internet IP

2,001

3,031

4,569

6,647

9,394

12,975

45%

Mobile Data

33

85

207

482

1,076

2,184

131%

By Segment (PB per month)

Consumer

7,037

10,488

15,465

22,768

31,211

40,571

42%

Business

3,103

4,258

5,805

7,722

10,022

12,833

32%

Mobile

33

85

207

482

1,076

2,184

131%

By Geography (PB per month)

North America

2,578

3,666

5,309

7,797

10,498

13,431

39%

Western Europe

2,593

3,623

4,995

7,126

9,707

12,593

37%

Asia Pacific

3,661

5,503

8,089

11,503

15,877

21,177

42%

Japan

644

950

1,355

1,919

2,490

3,107

37%

Latin America

308

503

800

1,196

1,690

2,360

50%

Central Eastern Europe

280

421

665

1,021

1,441

2,042

49%

Middle East and Africa

110

165

264

408

606

877

51%

Total (PB per month)

Total IP traffic

10,174

14,832

21,478

30,972

42,310

55,587

40%

Source: Cisco VNI, 2009

Table 1. Mobile Data Traffic 2008-2013

IP Traffic 2006-2012

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

CAGR 2008-2013

By Application (TB per month)

Audio

3,612

7,996

16,930

35,486

74,503

154,988

112%

Video

13,062

38,681

107,714

274,820

650,310

1,390,548

154%

P2P

6,714

15,851

33,784

69,856

134,224

220,829

101%

Data

9,680

22,547

48,984

102,054

217,282

417,847

112%

By Device Type (TB per month)

Handsets

11,266

29,568

76,948

194,132

484,060

1,152,786

152%

Portables

18,461

45,487

105,298

233,706

493,631

880,797

117%

Residential

3,342

10,020

25,167

54,378

98,628

150,629

114%

By Connection Speed (TB per month)

Handsets – Less than 3G

1,141

2,265

4,157

7,129

12,274

19,083

76%

Handsets – 3G

5,600

11,821

23,551

46,426

96,777

198,676

104%

Handsets – 3.5G and Above

4,525

15,482

49,240

140,576

375,009

935,027

190%

Portables – 3G and Up

18,461

45,487

105,298

233,706

493,631

880,797

117%

Residential – 4G

3,342

10,020

25,167

54,378

98,628

150,629

114%

By Geography (TB per month)

North America

6,282

16,981

40,808

90,882

201,455

397,265

129%

Western Europe

9,785

25,572

65,381

158,325

341,567

615,477

129%

Asia Pacific

7,709

20,171

50,450

123,397

302,788

701,044

146%

Japan

6,000

13,950

29,910

58,541

103,466

166,109

94%

Latin America

725

1,847

4,715

12,729

35,727

95,668

166%

Central Eastern Europe

838

2,249

5,806

14,586

37,209

88,699

154%

Middle East and Africa

1,729

4,304

10,343

23,755

54,107

119,951

133%

Total (TB per month)

Total Mobile Data Traffic

33,068

85,075

207,412

482,216

1,076,319

2,184,212

131%

Source: Cisco, 2009

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