The release of this year’s Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) report has highlighted some jaw dropping statistics and predictions about the exploding growth of IP traffic, Internet video, mobile devices and broadband speeds.
For example, the projected increase of global IP traffic between 2015 and 2016 alone is more than 330 exabytes. That’s almost equal to the total amount of traffic generated throughout 2011. Another prediction from this year’s report targets 2016 as the year global IP traffic exceeds the zettabyte mark, or a trillion gigabytes.
If you’re trying to wrap your head around a zettabyte, think about it this way: if every byte of data equalled one dollar, a zettabyte would be worth a sextillion dollars.
This traffic growth is being fueled the ‘runaway train’ of new smartphones and tablets, an explosion of new Internet users, faster broadband speeds and an influx of online video. The report, which is available here, shows how this traffic growth and service penetration is playing out globally.
But what does this all mean for Canada, and more importantly, for the service providers that are tasked with handling this Internet, managed IP and mobile data traffic explosion?
Let’s take a look at some Canadian-specific stats that tell the story.
Video becomes pervasive
Internet video already has become a driving force for content providers online. But, according to the VNI report, Canada will be home to 21 million Internet video users in 2016, a significant upgrade from the 3 million consuming these video services in 2011.
This trend will also extend into the Web-enabled TVs space, with TVs expected to account for 21 per cent of all consumer video traffic in 2016.
More users, more traffic
Try and picture what 5,020,000 people streaming HD video simultaneously over the Internet looks like. It’s hard to imagine now, but in just five short years, that will be a reality, as Canada’s average Internet traffic will reach 6 terabytes per second.
On the broadband front, half of Canadians will experience connections faster than 10 megabits per second by 2016. But that’s not to say that some users won’t experience even faster speeds. In fact, the average broadband speed in Canada will grow 3-fold from 10 megabits per second last year to 30 megabits per second in 2016.
Millions of new devices
Canada will be home to 214 million networked devices in 2016, a large increase from the 134 million we tallied up in 2011. That’s 5.7 connected devices for every Canadian.
With faster broadband and more video already driving content consumption through the roof, the mobile device explosion will lead to a massive mobile traffic increase over the next five years.
The average smartphone is Canada will generate 1.7 gigabytes of mobile data traffic per month in 2016, up a staggering 1,484 per cent from the 110 megabytes generated per month in 2011. Mobile data traffic will also account for eight per cent of total IP traffic in 2016, up from just one per cent last year.
But what does it all mean for Canadians?
Today, bandwidth-intensive users that love accessing video all day – and on any device – are a relative minority in Canada. This will not be the case five short years from now. We have some of the world’s most innovative service providers in Canada, and we need them to beef up their networks to tackle this inevitable shift toward massive online content consumption.
To drive this point home even further, here’s one last prediction from this year’s VNI report. In five years from now, the gigabyte equivalent of all the movies ever made will cross Canada’s IP networks every two hours.
To ensure that we are prepared for this, service providers need to get ahead of this trend and build their networks accordingly. Thankfully, we’re already starting to see that happen. Service providers are making massive investments to ensure their infrastructure can address Canada’s changing IP traffic landscape.
This week’s VNI report is just a friendly reminder why those investments are necessary.