Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

Cisco’s 11th annual Visual Network Index predicts that one billion new Internet users will be connected by 2020, driven in large part by the introduction of 10 billion new connected devices. Cisco forecasts that by the end of the decade smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic — and the demand for video services will serve as the greatest driver, representing nearly 80 percent of data traffic. The report suggests that annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte (1,000 exabytes) milestone this year, and will reach 2.3 zettabytes by 2020.

“The sheer growth in data consumption is astounding — especially for operators of cable networks, which will be delivering much of this traffic,” reports FierceCable.


According to Cisco, “Advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT) are continuing to drive IP traffic and tangible growth in the market. Applications such as video surveillance, smart meters, digital health monitors and a host of other Machine-to-Machine services are creating new network requirements and incremental traffic increases.”

M2M connections are expected to increase from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 12.2 billion by 2020, representing about 46 percent of connected devices.

Among Cisco’s key takeaways, as reported by Network World:

  • Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2020. In 2015, PCs accounted for 53 percent of total IP traffic, but by 2020 PCs will account for only 29 percent of traffic.
  • Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for two-thirds of total IP traffic by 2020. Wired devices will account for 34 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 66 percent of IP traffic.
  • Global Internet traffic in 2020 will be equivalent to 95 times the volume of the entire global Internet in 2005.
  • The number of devices connected to IP networks will be three times as high as the global population in 2020.
  • Broadband speeds will nearly double by 2020. By 2020, global fixed broadband speeds will reach 47.7 Mbps, up from 24.7 Mbps in 2015.
  • It would take an individual more than 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2020. Every second, nearly a million minutes of video content will cross the network by 2020.

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