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Video Will Comprise 82% of All Net Traffic in 5 Years, Says Cisco

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Online video's strong growth will continue for years, says Cisco. In 2021, 82 percent of all online traffic will be video, predicts the just-released Cisco Visual Networking Index (2016-2021). That up from 73 percent of all traffic in 2016. Live video streaming will increase by 15x in that time, growing to 13 percent of all traffic. While augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will see an impressive 20x growth, they will still count for only 1 percent of all entertainment traffic.

"This is being driven not only by more video being consumed, but also by higher definition of video being consumed: SD to HD to UHD," says Thomas Barnett, Jr., director of service provider marketing and thought leadership at Cisco. "There have been several independent online behavioral studies indicating that as a digital society, we prefer video over other means of media and communication."

Looking at global averages, Cisco finds households that have cut the cord and no longer subscribe to cable or satellite providers use far more data. In 2016, the average household used 63 GB of bandwidth per month, while the average cord-cutting household used 117 GB per month.

"This difference occurs because linear television generates much less traffic: One stream of video shared across numerous linear-TV households," Barnett says. "Comparatively, internet video is much more bandwidth intensive, with unicast streams to each internet video device."

Cisco reports the average person used 24 GB of bandwidth per month in 2016, which it expects to grow to 57 GB per month by 2021. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of households using 1 TB of data per month nearly doubled from 1.9 million to 3.6 million.

By 2021, 48 percent of all devices that connect to the internet will be capable of streaming video. Also, 56 percent of all connected TVs will support 4K resolution. That's an increase from 15 percent in 2016.

Cisco culled its numbers from a variety of sources, including direct data, in-house estimates and forecasts, and analyst projections. Download the Cisco Visual Networking Index (2016-2021) for free (no registration required).

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