Cisco’s “Visual Networking Index” in a Word: MORE

By Tom Williams | Posted on July 19, 2017

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Last month, Cisco released its annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast, the 12th edition of the report touted as a “highly regarded measure of the Internet’s growth,” combining a foundation of “independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data,” upon which is layered “Cisco’s own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption.”

The VNI has become a critical tool in projecting next generation networking requirements, providing a bellwether as we plan our product roadmap in order to meet network demands of the coming years. And to neatly recap these demands in one word, it would be — MORE.

First off, please process this statistic – the Cisco VNI report states that global IP traffic is expected to increase three-fold between 2016 and 2021, from 1.2 zettabytes to 3.3 zettabytes. (a “zettabyte” is 1 trillion gigabytes, or the storage capacity of 3.9 billion iPhones assuming 256G storage per device.)

At Acacia, we’re looking out into the next decade to build the high-throughput, low-powered optical interconnects that we believe our carrier and content-provider customers will need in order to meet the increasing network demands from consumers and businesses for everything from rich content to hosted enterprise infrastructures.

With that in mind, three things in the Cisco VNI report caught our attention, related to growth in mobile, online video and the “things” which comprise the IoT:

  •  Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2021. Smartphones will account for 33 percent of total IP traffic in 2021, up from 13 percent in 2016. PC-originated traffic will grow at a CAGR of 10 percent, while TVs, tablets, smartphones, and Machine-to- Machine (M2M) modules will have traffic growth rates of 21 percent, 29 percent, 49 percent, and 49 percent, respectively.
  •  In five years, IP video traffic will make up a whopping 82 percent of consumer Internet traffic. Global IP video traffic will grow threefold from 2016 to 2021, and Internet video traffic will grow fourfold from 2016 to 2021.
  • By 2019, Internet of Things (IoT) connections will account for more mobile additions than any other type of device. By 2021, a whopping 638 million IOT devices will connect globally.

You can read the complete report here or check out the Infographic here. What was your biggest takeaway from the Cisco VNI forecast? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.