Annual global internet traffic will reach 1.3 trillion GB in 2016, according to the latest forecast from Cisco. Monthly traffic will increase nearly four-fold from 2011, to an estimated 110 exabytes in 2016, while hourly traffic is expected to reach 150 petabytes by the same date.
The increase in IP traffic is driven by the growing number of connected devices. Cisco expects that by 2016, there will be nearly 18.9 billion networked devices ― equal to almost 2.5 connections per person ― compared with 10.3 billion in 2011. There will also be more people accessing the internet (3.4 billion in 2016), faster bandwidth (average 34Mbps vs 9Mbps in 2011) and more people watching online video (traffic of 1.2 million video minutes per second in 2016).
Cisco also expects that by 2016, over half of the world’s internet traffic will come from Wi-Fi connections. These will increasingly be over mobile devices and TVs, as the percentage of consumer internet traffic coming from PCs is expected to drop to 81 percent in 2016, from 94 percent last year. Global mobile internet traffic is forecast to grow ten-fold from 2011 to 2016, to 10.8 exabytes per month, or 130 exabytes annually.
Cisco also included subscriber forecasts for the first time in its networking report. Residential internet users are expected to grow from 1.7 billion in 2011 to 2.3 billion in 2016, and VoIP will be the fastest-growing residential internet service, going from 560 million users in 2011 to an estimated 928 million in 2016.
In the mobile market, consumer subscribers are forecast to reach 4.5 billion in 2016, versus 3.7 billion last year, and mobile video will be the fastest-growing service, going from 271 million to 1.6 billion users over the forecast period. SMS will still be the most-used service, rising from 74 percent of consumer mobile users in 2011 to 90 percent by 2016.
Among business internet users, Cisco expects desktop videoconferencing to be the fastest-growing IP service, rising from 36.4 million users in 2011 to 218.9 million in 2016. Location-based services will be the fastest-growing business mobile service, going from 27 million users in 2011 to an estimated 158 million in 2016.
The Cisco forecast is based in part on actual traffic data provided voluntarily by global service providers and consumers and is also available on a regional and country level.