According to Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) annual "Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast," by 2016, annual global IP traffic is forecast to be 1.3 zettabytes, or a trillion gigabytes. The projected increase of global IP traffic between 2015 and 2016 alone is more than 330 exabytes, which is almost equal to the total amount of global IP traffic generated in 2011 (369 exabytes). The traffic growth and service penetration is driven by a number of factors, including:
- An increasing number of devices: The proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, and other smart devices as well as machine-to-machine (M2M) connections are driving up the demand for connectivity. By 2016, the forecast projects there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections -- almost 2.5 connections for each person on earth -- compared with 10.3 billion in 2011.
- More Internet users: By 2016, there are expected to be 3.4 billion Internet users, about 45% of the world's projected population according to United Nations estimates.
- Faster broadband speeds: The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase nearly fourfold, from 9 Mbps in 2011 to 34 Mbps in 2016.
- More video: By 2016, 1.2 million video minutes -- the equivalent of 833 days -- would travel the Internet every second.
- WiFi growth: By 2016, more than half of the world's Internet traffic is expected to come from WiFi connections.