Cisco predicts 60pc of the world’s population will be online by 2022

28 Nov 2018

Smartphone safari. Image: Serrnovik/Depositphotos

Global IP traffic is expected to reach 396 exabytes per month by 2022.

Network equipment giant Cisco has predicted that by 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all 32 years combined up to the end of 2016.

In its latest Visual Networking Index, Cisco predicts that from 2017 to 2022, the internet will achieve 4.8 zettabytes of traffic per year.

‘The size and complexity of the internet continues to grow in ways that many could not have imagined’

Cisco predicts that by 2022, 60pc of the global population will be internet users. More than 28bn devices and connections will be online. And video will make up 82pc of all IP traffic.

Consumer appetite for digital content will be insatiable

The busiest hour of internet traffic per day in 2022 will grow five times to reach 7.2 petabytes per second, with average internet traffic reaching one petabyte per second.

The report predicts that there will be 4.8bn internet users by 2022. That’s up from 3.4bn in 2017 or 45pc of the world’s population.

In terms of devices and speeds, by 2022 there will be 28.5bn fixed and mobile personal devices and connections in the world, up from 18bn in 2017, working out at around 3.6 network devices or connections per person.

More than half of all devices and connections at that point will be machine-to-machine (M2M), up from 34pc last year. This will see internet of things (IoT) devices, from smart speakers to other home automation technologies, grow from 6.1bn devices last year to 14.6bn in 2022.

During that time, average global fixed broadband speeds will nearly double from 39Mbps last year to 75.4Mbps in 2022, while average mobile connection speeds will triple from 8.7Mbps to 28.5Mbps, most likely due to the advent of 5G.

As streaming gaming becomes more mainstream, gaming traffic is expected to grow ninefold from 2017 to 2022. It will represent 4pc of overall IP traffic in 2022.

Virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) traffic will skyrocket as more consumers and businesses use the technologies. By 2022, VR and AR traffic will reach 4.02 exabytes per month, up from 0.33 exabytes per month in 2017.

“The size and complexity of the internet continues to grow in ways that many could not have imagined,” said Jonathan Davidson, senior vice-president and general manager of Cisco’s service provider business.

“Since we first started the VNI Forecast in 2005, traffic has increased 56-fold, amassing a 36pc CAGR [compound average growth rate] with more people, devices and applications accessing IP networks.

“Global service providers are focused on transforming their networks to better manage and route traffic, while delivering premium experiences.”

Smartphone safari. Image: Serrnovik/Depositphotos

Updated, 11.39am, 28 November 2018: This article was amended to clarify that Cisco predicts 60pc of the world’s population will be online by 2022, not almost half, as previously stated.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years