Global Internet Traffic to Triple by 2019, Led by Video

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Annual global Internet traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26% in the five-year period between 2014 and 2019. Daily traffic is forecast to grow from 1.4 exabytes per day in 2014 to 4.5 exabytes per day by 2019. An exabyte is equal to 1 billion billion bytes.

Global Internet traffic in 2019 is projected to be 82 times more than it was in 2005. Based on a forecast world population of 7.64 billion people, Internet traffic per capita will total 18 gigabytes, up from 6 gigabytes in 2014.

The data come from the Visual Networking Index (VNI) report released last week by Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO). The report is stuffed with data points related to traffic over IP networks, two-thirds of which is internet traffic. Business use accounts for just 18% of IP traffic while consumers account for 82% and while total IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23%, mobile data growth is pegged at a compound annual growth rate of 57%.

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The largest share of Internet traffic growth will come from video, which will account for more than 89 exabytes of traffic per month by 2019. Online gaming is forecast to post a higher growth rate — 36% to 33% — but gaming is expected to account for just 138 petabytes of traffic in 2019. An exabyte is equal to 1,000 petabytes.

The primary driver for internet video traffic will be high-definition and ultra-high-definition devices, with video-on-demand traffic nearly doubling by 2019 to the equivalent of 7 billion DVDs a month. An Internet-enabled high-definition television that draws 45 minutes of content per day from the Internet generates as much Internet traffic as an entire household today.

Cisco forecasts that by 2019 more than 30% of Internet-connected flat-panel TV sets will be ultra-high-definition (4K) devices. From just 0.2% today, ultra-high-definition TV will account for 21% of global video-on-demand traffic in 2019.

The amount of Internet traffic generated by PCs is forecast to drop from 12.2% in 2014 to 7% in 2019, and the largest percentage gain will come from machine-to-machine (M2M) traffic. Smart meters, video surveillance, health care monitoring, transportation and other M2M connections (the Internet of Everything) are expected to represent 43% of all devices and connections to the Internet by 2019.

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