The annual global internet traffic will surpass the zettabyte threshold by the end of 2016, which is expected to make the biggest traffic jam in history within the coming years, according to Cisco report released on May.
The threshold is 1.3 zettabytes, Cisco said.
The increased level of internet users worldwide is expected to generate shortages for customers and small businesses everywhere, together with increased costs and data limitations. The report states that global IP traffic has increased eightfold over the past 5 years, and will increase threefold over the next 5 years. Overall, IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29 percent from 2011 to 2016.
According to Cisco, there will be about 2.4 billion internet users by 2016, with Wi-Fi wireless network connections presenting almost half of the traffic. This is predicted to have massive repercussions for the IT industry. In 2016, wired devices will account for 39 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 61 percent of IP traffic.
Last year, wired devices accounted for the majority of traffic at 55 percent.
The report also estimates the number of devices connected to IP networks will be nearly three times as high as the global population in 2016. The rising numbers of users will eventually create a burden for giant computer gaming companies such as Sony and Microsoft to supply a high-quality, high-data video streaming to its customers.
“This should adversely impact streaming companies, including cloud gaming, because their services will either be excessively expensive or heavily throttled,” Rob Enderle, an analyst at the Enderle Group in California’s Silicon Valley told The National on Wednesday.
“[But] this should do wonders for networking companies and firms who can figure out how to compress and decompress images aggressively with little data loss,” Enderle added.
However, network carriers such as Vodafone will be faced with the huge costs of upgrading their operations.
“It is an interesting situation as competition has created a great deal for consumers. This is especially the case for fixed-line broadband connections, which remain a lot cheaper than mobile broadband,” Charlie Davies, an analyst at the international research firm Ovum also told The National.
“The big question is who pays for all the extra bandwidth, and it is the network carriers such as the major telecoms operators who are investing most heavily. The other question is whether they will get sufficient return on their investment,” Davies added.
Davies believes customers distributing content over the internet can help them pay part of the carriers’ costs. The telecoms operators are also increasingly asking content providers such as the online music distributor to share revenue costs. Yet, consumers are believed to be the ones who will eventually pay the increasing costs of these services.