Cisco: Global Internet traffic to quadruple by 2015

Network connections

Cisco believes there won't be so many open ports come 2015

Brace yourself for a veritable Internet explosion.

Cisco Systems predicts that by 2015 the number of network-connected devices will be more than 15 billion, twice the world’s population, that video will dominate online traffic, and that our increasing love of mobile gadgetry will ensure wireless computing surpasses desktop computing.

In its fifth annual report, this year the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2010-2015), the company also said the total amount of global Internet traffic will quadruple by 2015 and reach 966 Exabytes per year.

The IT channel would do well to consider the problems this will pose for companies internally as extra bandwidth for video will be needed, and externally for redundant services that can be used in case of network outages or network over capacity with the primary provider, suggested Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group.

Furthermore, Enderle said security isn’t anywhere near to being adequate for the massive proliferation of connected devices and that IT is not well positioned to support mobile smart devices to the same extent it can for desktop computing. Here lies opportunity for the trusted business advisor.

“IT needs to set standards and guidelines for support so they don’t have a lot of upset employees and executives if the expected support isn’t provided after the purchase.  Most of these devices are poorly secured suggesting very strict policies with regard to access to sensitive systems and information,” he said. “Businesses need policies that assure proper approval and integration of these devices before the wave hits to ensure a breach can be avoided or successfully contained.

“The channel really needs to help IT think through the coming exposures and ensure they can be effectively managed while still providing the opportunity to use these new connected devices appropriately.”

Meanwhile, Cisco said the projected increase of Internet traffic between 2014 and 2015 alone is 200 Exabytes, which is greater than the total amount of Internet Protocol (IP) traffic generated globally in 2010. On the verge of reaching 1 Zettabytes, which is equal to a sextillion bytes or a trillion gigabytes by 2015, global IP traffic growth, the vendor said, is driven by four primary factors:

  1. The proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, connected appliances and other smart devices is driving up the demand for connectivity. By 2015, there will be nearly 15 billion network connections via devices — including machine-to-machine — and more than two connections for each person on Earth;
  2. By 2015, there will be nearly 3 billion Internet users. That’s more than 40 per cent of the world’s projected population;
  3. The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase fourfold, from 7 megabits per second in 2010 to 28 Mbps in 2015. The average broadband speed has already doubled within the past year from 3.5 Mbps to 7 Mbps;
  4. By 2015, 1 million video minutes – the equivalent of 674 days – will traverse the Internet every second.

“The explosive growth in Internet data traffic, especially video, creates an opportunity in the years ahead for optimizing and monetizing visual, virtual and mobile Internet experiences,” remarked Suraj Shetty, vice-president of worldwide service provider marketing at Cisco, in a statement.

These are astounding projections and they arrive on the heels of Cisco’s chief futurist Dave Evans’ recent predictions around the proliferation of mobile devices and the impacts on the human race by way of the Internet of Things.

Whether or not these outcomes prove true exactly as Cisco predicts remains to be seen but there can be little doubt as to the growth of mobile computing and of video’s impact on the ’Net. Enderle agreed there’s an opportunity for channel players to optimize and monetize visual, virtual and/or mobile Internet experiences. “Videoconferencing is also due for an increase as a result of the spread of common standards and Microsoft’s purchase of Skype,” he added.