Cisco Projections Show Large Increase in Video Traffic by 2018

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Shining a light on how internet traffic will grow in the next four years, Cisco released projections entitled Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Forecast and Service Adoption for 2013 to 2018 this morning. The world is reaching the zettabyte era, Cisco says, noting that IP traffic will triple by 2018, reaching an annual run rate of 1.6 zettabytes. For comparison, that's over one-and-a-half trillion gigabytes.

The projections have much to say about the growth of online video. In 2013, video made up 66 percent of global IP traffic. That will rise to 79 percent in 2018. Ultra-HD, only 0.1 percent of IP traffic in 2013, will grow to 11 percent in 2018. HD will count for 52 percent (up from 36 percent) and SD will count for 37 percent (down from 64 percent).

Cisco predicts that 4K TV sets will catch on, although it will take some time. By 2018, over 20 percent of all worldwide connected flat panel TVs will be 4K.

The projections show how countries with higher fixed internet speeds enjoy more online video consumption (see the chart below), and that faster networks lead to better viewer experiences: By 2018, 55 percent of all broadband connections worldwide will offer 10Mbps (letting an HD movie download in 22 minutes), 22 percent will have 50Mbps (the same download in 4 minutes), and 3 percent will have 100Mbps (the same download in 2 minutes). With a 100Mbps connection, a UHD movie download takes just 12 minutes.

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