The annual Cisco forecast for the growth of internet traffic is out

The annual Cisco forecast for the growth of internet traffic is out. This is a really interesting read if you are in the business, and probably almost as interesting if you are not.

The first observation is of the sheer scale of the numbers involved.

In 2012 the total monthly internet traffic amounted to 43,569 PetaBytes. By 2017 this is expected to rise to 120,643 PetaBytes or roughly 121 ExaBytes.



Unless you make a living out of being a mathematician it is unlikely that you have ever had cause to use the prefix “Exa”.

This amounts to a trebling of internet traffic over the next five years. I recently wrote a blog post on about my own home broadband data usage which has risen from around 25GB a  month in 2008 to a localised peak of 250GB in December 2012.

That’s down to a combination of availability of faster connectivity at home together with the advent of more powerful phones with more storage and better cameras that encourage me to take lots of photos and videos that are automatically uploaded to online platforms. The videos are especially bandwidth hungry and this is reflected in the forecast. According to Cisco by 2017 video will account for 88ExaBytes or over two thirds of all internet traffic.

From an ISPs perspective this is all exciting stuff. Our own core network moved from being a 1GB ring to 10GB around three years ago with scope to expand this to 40GB. In 2013 we have sold our first customer 10GB connections. This partly illustrates the fact that we are selling to bigger and bigger customers but also that these customers are using more data across their networks.

There are now in the UK 4 100GigE networks – 3 at Janet and one at BT. It’s the shape of things to come. I would anticipate that by 2017 Timico will have its own 100GigE core network.

Of course the other point worthy of consideration is the fact that a large amount of these data1 will need storing somewhere. Not all that video is going to be streamed. Certainly much of my own is video recording of the family and other totally off the wall clips of the everyday life of Trefor Davies. I can’t imagine I’m any different to anyone else.

Cisco segments the forecast by “network”, “region”, “consumer/business” and “application”. Timico fits neatly into this as a UK provider of managed connectivity to business. Although we haven’t necessarily thought of ourselves as an application provider this is exactly what we are.

Whilst telephony has traditionally been accounted for in the network world in fact by 2017 telephony will be very much just a VoIP application that runs over fixed and mobile networks. Our cloud services that we have perhaps regarded very much as infrastructure plays are really also applications – backup and storage for example.

As an industry we have to thank Cisco for compiling the report which really reinforces why we are here and what motivates us to get up in the morning. We live in exciting times in an exciting industry. We would do well to remember that the internet is only around 20 years old. There is still a lot of development ahead and it is great to be part of it.

1 note correct grammar

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