Wi-Fi and mobile devices have been identified as primary drivers of a predicted threefold growth in IP traffic between now and 2019, when numbers are expected to hit two zettabytes (2,000,000,000,000 gigabytes).
According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, there will be 24 billion networked device connections by 2019, compared to 14 billion in 2014. As a result, Wi-Fi and cellular traffic will represent approximately two-thirds of all IP traffic by the end of the forecast period.
Wi-Fi is expected to be the main driver behind this growth, representing 53 percent of IP traffic. Cellular connections will account for more than 14 percent, while fixed traffic will account for 33 percent of overall traffic.
In 2014, fixed connections accounted for 54 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi accounted for 42 percent and cellular four percent.
In Europe, IP traffic is expected to increase at a CAGR of 21 percent to hit 24.7 exabytes by 2019.
This is second only to Asia-Pac (21 percent CAGR, 54.4 exabytes) and North America (20 percent CAGR, 49.7 exabytes).
In particular, video is expected to create new bandwidth and scalability requirements for service providers, Cisco said.
It forecast global IP video traffic to increase at a CAGR of 27 percent between now and 2019, when it will hit 134.8 exabytes per month.
Consumer IP video traffic will account for 84 percent of all consumer IP traffic by 2019, while business IP video traffic will represent 63 percent of all enterprise IP traffic by the end of the forecast period.
As a result, service providers will need to become more flexible in order to support the “constant introduction” of new applications across fixed and mobile networks, the vendor claimed.
For example, Cisco suggested growing demand for HD video and web-based conferencing services from enterprises may prompt more service providers to adopt virtualisation.
Meanwhile, a sharp growth in mobile traffic between now and the end of the decade will come following an influx of connected personal devices like smartphones, tablets, connected ultra-high definition televisions and fitness-tracking wearables, Cisco said.
M2M connections will more than triple over the next five years to 10.5 billion. This will come following increased uptake in agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and transport segments, as well as smart home deployments, Cisco said.
While the connected home segment will represent nearly half of all M2M connections by the end of the forecast period, Cisco claimed the connected health segment will see the fastest growth, with connections increasing at a CAGR of 54 percent between 2014 and 2019.
The vendor concluded a “comprehensive IPv6 strategy” would be crucial to ensure operators are able to cope with the increased volume and complexity of devices expected on the networks.
Doug Webster, VP of Service Provider Products and Solutions Marketing at Cisco, said: “It took 32 years to generate the first zettabyte of IP traffic annually. However, as this year’s Visual Networking Index forecasts, it will take only three additional years to reach the next zettabyte milestone”.