Cisco's VNI Forecast Projects expects the internet will be four times as large in four years and worldwide devices & connections to grow to almost 19 billion, nearly doubling from 2011 to 2016.
By 2016, annual global IP traffic is forecast to be 1.3 zettabytes – (a zettabyte is equal to a sextillion bytes, or a trillion gigabytes). The projected increase of global IP traffic between 2015 and 2016 alone is more than 330 exabytes, which is almost equal to the total amount of global IP traffic generated in 2011 (369 exabytes). This significant level of traffic growth and service penetration is driven by a number of factors, including:
- An increasing number of devices: The proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, and other smart devices as well as machine-to-machine (M2M) connections are driving up the demand for connectivity. By 2016, the forecast projects there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections―almost 2.5 connections for each person on earth, ― compared with 10.3 billion in 2011
- Faster broadband speeds: The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase nearly fourfold, from 9 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2011 to 34 Mbps in 2016.
- More video: By 2016, 1.2 million video minutes―the equivalent of 833 days (or over two years) ―would travel the Internet every second. Globally, there are expected to be 1.5 billion Internet video users by 2016, up from 792 million Internet video users in 2011. Global advanced video traffic, including three-dimensional (3-D) and high-definition TV (HDTV), is projected to increase five times between 2011 and 2016.
- Wi-Fi growth: By 2016, over half of the world's Internet traffic is expected to come from Wi-Fi connections.
- Global mobile Internet data traffic is forecast to increase 18 times from 2011 to 2016, to 10.8 exabytes per month (or 130 exabytes annually).