Cisco VNI Sees IP Traffic Near Tripling by 2020

Convergence Corner

Cisco VNI Sees IP Traffic Near Tripling by 2020

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor  |  July 27, 2016

As resources that tend to become the gold standard as references for what lies ahead, there are few that can rival the Cisco Visual Networking Index. The latest VNI predicts that global IP traffic will nearly triple at a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent over the next five years.  

The company also says that more than 1 billion new Internet users are expected to join the global Internet community, growing from 3 billion in 2015 to 4.1 billion by 2020.

Global IP traffic is expected to reach 194.4 exabytes per month by 2020, up from 72.5 exabytes per month in 2015, according to the study. The global annual run rate will reach 2.3 zettabytes by 2020 – up from 870 exabytes in 2015. To put that in context, 2.3 zettabytes is equivalent to 12 hours of streaming music per day of the year per capita or 33 hours of Ultra HD video streaming for each person on Earth.

Globally, 48.2 percent of all fixed and mobile networked devices and connections will be IPv6-capable by 2020 – up from 23.3 percent in 2015.

Broadband speeds globally will nearly double from 24.7Mbps in 2015 to 47.7Mbps by 2020.

By 2020, 71 percent of total IP traffic will originate with non-PC devices including tablets, smartphones, and televisions, compared to 47 percent in 2015. By 2020, smartphones will generate 30 percent of total IP traffic, while PCs total IP traffic contribution will fall to 29 percent.

Internet video will increase four-fold between 2015 and 2020. Consumer Internet video traffic will be 82 percent of consumer Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 68 percent in 2015. Business Internet video traffic will be 66 percent of business Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 44 percent in 2015. In addition, video surveillance traffic nearly doubled in the past year and will grow tenfold by 2020, and virtual reality traffic quadrupled in the past year and will increase 61-fold by 2020.

Online gaming will be the fastest growing residential Internet service, increasing from 1.1 billion users in 2015 to 1.4 billion users by 2020. In other areas of interest, mobile location-based service will be the fastest growing consumer mobile service, growing from 807 million users in 2015 to more than 2.3 billion users by 2020. And, desktop/personal videoconferencing will be the fastest growing business Internet service, growing from 95 million users in 2015 to 248 million users by 2020.   

Globally, total public Wi-Fi hotspots including home spots will grow seven times from 2015 (64 million) to 2020 (432 million). In fact, globally, home spots will grow from 57 million in 2015 to 423 million by 2020. 

Cisco (News - Alert) also noted that expanded Wi-Fi access will enable a variety of scaling and optimization opportunities for network operators (more mobile offload, ubiquitous VoWiFi, smart cities, connected transportation, and related IoT strategies). This trend also enhances quad play capabilities and provides additional access for TV everywhere services.

In 2015, Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices generated 62 percent of Internet traffic (Wi-Fi: 55 percent; cellular: 7 percent; fixed: 38 percent). By 2020, Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 78 percent of Internet traffic (Wi-Fi: 59 percent; cellular: 19 percent; fixed: 22 percent).

And the company projects that 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. It says this translates into 3.4 devices and connections per capita by 2020 – up from 2.2 per capita in 2015.

Globally, M2M connections are calculated to grow nearly threefold from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 12.2 billion by 2020, representing nearly half (46 percent) of total connected devices.

The connected health consumer segment will have the fastest growth (fivefold) of M2M connections from 2015 (144 million) to 2020 (729 million). 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 – nearly half of all M2M connections.

Video services and content continue to be the dominant leader compared with all other applications. Internet video will account for 79 percent of global Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 63 percent in 2015. The world will reach 3 trillion Internet video minutes per month by 2020, which is 5 million years of video per month, or about 1 million video minutes every second. HD and Ultra HD Internet video will make up 82 percent of Internet video traffic by 2020—up from 53 percent in 2015.

Peter Bernstein is senior editor at TMC (News - Alert) (, the parent company of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

Edited by Alicia Young