Cisco Visual Networking Index:
Forecast and Methodology, 2015–2020
June 6, 2016
This forecast is part of the Cisco® Visual Networking Index™ (Cisco VNI™), an
ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications.
This document presents the details of the Cisco VNI global IP traffic forecast and
the methodology behind it. For a more analytical look at the implications of the data
presented in this paper, refer to the companion document, The Zettabyte Era—Trends
and Analysis, or the VNI Forecast Highlights tool.
Annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte (ZB; 1000 exabytes [EB]) threshold in 2016, and will
reach 2.3 ZB by 2020. Global IP traffic will reach 1.1 ZB per year or 88.7 EB (one billion gigabytes [GB])
per month in 2016. By 2020, global IP traffic will reach 2.3 ZB per year, or 194 EB per month.
Global IP traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next 5 years, and will have increased nearly 100-fold
from 2005 to 2020. Overall, IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 percent from
2015 to 2020.
Busy-hour Internet traffic is growing more rapidly than average Internet traffic. Busy-hour (or the busiest
60-minute period in a day) Internet traffic increased 51 percent in 2015, compared with 29-percent growth in
average traffic. Busy-hour Internet traffic will increase by a factor of 4.6 between 2015 and 2020, while average
Internet traffic will increase twofold.
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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. Smartphones will account for 30 percent of total IP traffic
in 2020, up from 8 percent in 2015. PC-originated traffic will grow at a CAGR of 8 percent, while TVs, tablets,
smartphones, and machine-to-machine (M2M) modules will have traffic growth rates of 17 percent, 39 percent,
58 percent, and 44 percent, respectively.
Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for two-thirds of total IP traffic by 2020. 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. In 2015, wired devices accounted for the majority of IP traffic at 52 percent.
Global Internet traffic in 2020 will be equivalent to 95 times the volume of the entire global Internet in 2005.
Globally, Internet traffic will reach 21 GB per capita by 2020, up from 7 GB per capita in 2015.
The number of devices connected to IP networks will be three times as high as the global population in
2020. There will be 3.4 networked devices per capita by 2020, up from 2.2 networked devices per capita in 2015.
Accelerated in part by the increase in devices and the capabilities of those devices, IP traffic per capita will reach
25 GB per capita by 2020, up from 10 GB per capita in 2015.
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
Globally, IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020, up from 70 percent in
2015. Global IP video traffic will grow threefold from 2015 to 2020, a CAGR of 26 percent. Internet video traffic will
grow fourfold from 2015 to 2020, a CAGR of 31 percent.