28bn connected devices by 2020

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More than 4.7 zettabytes of IP traffic have flowed across the Internet since its introduction in 1984.
More than 4.7 zettabytes of IP traffic have flowed across the Internet since its introduction in 1984.

Global Internet protocol (IP) traffic is expected to triple by 2022, reaching 4.8 zettabytes (unit of digital information) of traffic per year.

This is according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index , released yesterday. The Index predicts that by 2022, more Internet traffic will be created than in the 32 years since the Internet was introduced.

The number of Internet users will increase to 60% (4.8 billion) of the global population by 2022, with 28 billion devices and connections expected to be online. Video will make up 82% of all IP traffic, with average Internet traffic forecasted to grow by nearly four times in comparison to 2017, reveals the report.

Middle East and Africa is expected to see a 41% growth in Internet traffic, totaling 549 million Internet users, up from 388 million in 2017.

"The size and complexity of the Internet continues to grow in ways that many could not have imagined," says Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and GM of service provider business at Cisco.

"Since we first started Cisco's Visual Networking Index in 2005, traffic has increased 56-fold, amassing a 36% compound annual growth rate, with more people, devices and applications accessing IP networks. Global service providers are focused on transforming their networks to better manage and route traffic, while delivering premium experiences."

The busiest hour of Internet traffic, notes the report, will be six times more active than the average, growing by nearly five times (37% CAGR) from 2017.

Supercharged mobile speeds

Smartphone adoption will grow at a 9% CAGR by 2022, according to the report.

Average global mobile connection speeds will more than triple from 8.7 Mbps to 28.5 Mbps, while global WiFi connection speeds and broadband speeds are expected to double by 2020.

Kate Mollett, regional manager at Veeam SA, says the 5G deployment being touted for SA from 2019, will have a significant impact on Internet traffic.

"These overall stats will look drastically different once 5G is the norm, as the 5G spectrum will drive these numbers even higher. For the most part, data speeds for consumers on mobile are probably as good as we need, perhaps except for those watching high-definition video streaming of the weekend's football and rugby live to their phones."

Virtual reality and augmented reality traffic will proliferate, as more consumers and businesses use these technologies, reaching 4.02 exabytes per month, up from 0.33 exabytes per month in 2017, notes the report.

M2M devices skyrocket

Each year, various new devices in different form factors with increased capabilities and intelligence are introduced and adopted in the market.

"A growing number of machine to machine applications, such as smart meters, video surveillance, healthcare monitoring, transportation, and package or asset tracking, will contribute in a major way to the growth of devices and connections," says Cisco.

The consumer share of the total devices, including both fixed and mobile devices, will be 72%, with business claiming the remaining 28%.

Mollett believes the more data that is being created and stored, presents an opportunity for local businesses to understand their consumers' preferences.

"Cisco's report highlights that data isn't just growing in scale but changing in terms of speed and accessibility, to meet the needs of consumers and businesses alike. Businesses should adapt services and business models that are far from ideal to meet their customer's changing demand.

That can only be realised with good quality and secure intelligent data management."

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