Cisco's recently released annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast for 2015 to 2020 estimates that global IP traffic will almost triple at a compound annual growth rate of 22% over the course of the next five years.
The two factors that will have the greatest impact on global IP traffic are the adoption of connected personal devices and the rise in deployment of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections.
Over the next five years, 10 billion new devices and connections will be supported by global IP networks, bringing the total up to 26.3 billion, or 3.4 devices and connections per capita.
By 2020, there will be around 4.1 billion internet users worldwide, up from three billion in 2015. With that, smartphone traffic is estimated to account for 71% of global IP traffic in 2020 – up from 47% in 2015.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will also play its part in driving IP traffic, with M2M connections forecast to grow from 4.9 billion to 12.2 billion during the next few years and these devices will eventually represent 46% of total connected devices.
In terms of global internet traffic, internet video will consume 79% of it by 2020, up from 62% in 2015. Global networks will relay the equivalent of one million video minutes per second, as per Cisco's estimates. Of total internet video traffic, high-definition and ultra HD video will account for the majority (82%).
Commenting on the findings, Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing, Cisco, said the projected rise in global IP traffic is evidence that "digital transformation is happening now for billions of consumers and businesses."
He stressed that the pressure is now on telecoms firms to deliver "scalable, secure, high-quality services and experiences over all types of broadband network infrastructures."