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Cisco Visual Networking Index predicts 10 billion new connected devices by 2020

Cisco has released the latest edition of its Visual Networking Index (VNI), which forecasts that global IP traffic will nearly triple over the next five years. Global IP traffic is expected to reach 194.4 exabytes per month by 2020, up from 72.5 exabytes per month in 2015. That corresponds to a compound annual growth rate of 22 per cent.

That growth will be driven by more internet users, more devices and connections, faster broadband speeds and even more video viewing. More than one billion new internet users are expected to join the global internet community, which will grow from three billion in 2015 to 4.1 billion by 2020.

Cisco also predicts that fixed broadband speeds around the world will nearly double over the forecast period, from an average of 24.7Mb/s in 2015 to 47.7Mb/s by 2020.

Video services and content continue to be the dominant traffic driver compared with all other applications. Internet video will account for 79 per cent of global Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 63 per cent in 2015. The world will reach three trillion Internet video minutes per month by 2020, which is five million years of video per month, or about one million video minutes every second.

Advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT) will also have a tangible impact. Applications such as video surveillance, smart meters, digital health monitors and a host of other M2M services are creating new network requirements and incremental traffic increases (see also our feature article from the summer 2016 issue, Internet of everything).

Over the next five years, global IP networks will support up to 10 billion new devices and connections, increasing from 16.3 billion in 2015 to 26.3 billion by 2020, according to Cisco. There are projected to be 3.4 devices and connections for each human on the planet by 2020, up from 2.2 per capita in 2015.

Globally, machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will represent nearly half (46 per cent) of total connected devices by 2020, growing nearly three-fold from 4.9 billion in 2015 to reach 12.2 billion by 2020. The connected home segment will have the largest volume of M2M connections over the forecast period with 2.4 billion in 2015, growing to 5.8 billion by 2020.

With the growing dependence on broadband, security concerns are increasingly becoming top of mind for service providers, governments, businesses and consumers. For the first time in this forecast, Cisco collaborated with Arbor Networks to help quantify the current and future threats of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. DDoS incidents can paralyze networks by flooding servers and network devices with traffic from multiple IP sources.

The new DDoS analysis suggests that these types of breaches can represent up to 10 per cent of a country’s total Internet traffic while they are occurring. Over the next five years, DDoS attacks are projected to increase from 6.6 million to 17 million attacks. These initial findings underscore the need for more comprehensive security measures to protect data and reduce network exposure to such risks.

Cisco also outlined the regional differences in IP traffic growth. The fastest growth (six-fold) will be experienced in Middle East and Africa, which is expected to consume 10.9 exabytes per month by 2020, 41 per cent compound annual growth rate. The largest consumer of IP traffic will remain the Asia Pacific region, which is forecast to triple by 2020, growing to 67.8 exabytes per month. Central Europe will also see a tripling of IP traffic, reaching 17.0 exabytes per month by 2020.

Consumption in North America, Latin America and Western Europe will double, according to Cisco: North America will devour 59.1 exabytes per month by 2020, 19 percent CAGR; Western Europe is expected to consume 28.0 exabytes per month by 2020; and Latin America will reach 11.6 exabytes per month by 2020.

The Cisco VNI Global IP Traffic and Service Adoption Forecasts for 2015 to 2020 rely upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data.



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