ciscoWorldwide there will be 3.4 devices connected to the Internet per person by 2020, according to the 11th annual update of the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), which was released yesterday. More than 1 billion people and 10 billion new devices will be connected to the Internet over the next five years, researchers said. That will fuel increases in global IP traffic, which Cisco’s forecasts will expand at a 22 percent CAGR from 2015-2020.

The number of Internet users globally will rise from 3 billion in 2015 to 4.1 billion by 2020, but rapid growth of machine-to-machine (M2M) telecommunications and Internet of Things (IoT) technology will have an even greater impact on economies and societies, Cisco highlights in a press release.

Devices Connected to the Internet
M2M connections will exceed 12 billion to represent nearly half (46 percent) of all of the devices connected to the Internet worldwide by 2020, Cisco’s Thomas Barnett, Jr. writes in a June 7 Cisco blog post.

Cisco mentions video surveillance, smart meters and digital health monitors among the host of M2M services that will fuel IoT growth. In its latest VNI, Cisco forecasts global M2M connections will increase nearly three-fold, from 4.9 billion to 12.2 billion by 2020, which would represent 46 percent of total connected devices.

Wireless connectivity will also play a greater role in an increasingly connected world. Wi-Fi and mobile device connections will account for 78 percent of Internet traffic by 2020, according to Cisco’s latest VNI. That said, industry players will need to realize the anticipated benefits of new-generation 5G and WiFi technologies in order to match the performance of fixed-line broadband networks, Barnett says.

The ongoing shift to mobile broadband connections and device use will also be evidenced by smartphone usage, which Cisco expects will generate 30 percent of global IP traffic by 2020. PCs’ traffic share, in contrast, will drop to 29 percent.

Overall, Cisco forecasts global IP networks will expand to support as many as 10 billion devices connected to the Internet, which will increase from 16.3 billion in 2015 to 26.3 billion by 2020. The number of devices connected to the Internet will outnumber the number of people alive worldwide in 2020 by 3.4 to 1, up from 2.2 to 1 in 2015.

Delving further into M2M and IoT technology and markets, connected home devices will be the largest segment in terms of M2M connections. Connected home M2M connections will increase from 2.4 billion in 2015 to 5.8 billion in 2020, accounting for nearly half of total M2M connections worldwide.

Video services will continue to dominate global IP traffic over the forecast period, Cisco says, accounting for 79 percent of the total by 2020, up from 63 percent in 2015. Three trillion minutes (5 million years or about 1 million every second) of online video will be viewed every month by 2020, according to the researchers. HD and UHD viewing will dominate, accounting for a combined 82 percent of the total, up from 53 percent last year, researchers said.

Security Concerns
Security concerns will occupy the minds of service providers, governments, businesses and consumers as dependence on networks and devices connected to the Internet continues to rise. Cisco worked with Arbor Networks to estimate and anticipate threats posed by DDoS attacks.

Their results indicate DDoS attacks can represent 10 percent of a country’s total Internet traffic while occurring. The number of DDoS attacks worldwide will rise from 6.6 million to 17 million over the forecast period, Cisco and Arbor project, heightening the importance of introducing more comprehensive security measures.

“The digital transformation is happening now for billions of consumers and businesses users across the globe,” said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing, Cisco. “Innovation is imperative for Cisco and its service provider customers to deliver scalable, secure, high-quality services and experiences over all types of broadband network infrastructures.”

VNI Highlights
Cisco offers the following highlights of the 11th annual update of its VNI:

Stable growth in IP and Internet Traffic

  • Global IP traffic is expected to reach 194.4 exabytes per month by 2020, up from 72.5 exabytes per month in 2015. The global annual run rate will reach 2.3 zettabytes by 2020—up from 870 exabytes in 2015.
  • 2.3 zettabytes is equivalent to 12 hours of streaming music per day of the year per capita or 33 hours of Ultra HD video streaming for each person on earth.
  • Busy-hour Internet traffic will grow nearly 5-fold (4.7-fold) from 2015 to 2020, reaching 2.6 Pbps by 2020 compared with average  Internet traffic that will grow three-fold over the same period.
  • Across all time zones, “Internet primetime” generally occurs between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Regional IP Traffic Growth Details

  • North America: 59.1 exabytes/month by 2020, 19 percent CAGR, two-fold growth
  • Globally, 48.2 percent of all fixed and mobile networked devices and connections will be IPv6-capable by 2020—up from 23.3 percent in 2015.
  • Globally, 34 percent of total Internet traffic will be IPv6 driven by 2020. Globally, IPv6 traffic will grow 16-fold from 2015 to 2020, a CAGR of 74 percent

Fixed Broadband Speeds Nearly Double

  • Global broadband speeds will nearly double from 24.7 Mbps in 2015 to 47.7 Mbps by 2020.

Smartphone Traffic Will Surpass PC Traffic

  • The way consumers and business users access IP networks and the Internet is shifting from PCs to mobile devices. By 2020, 71 percent of total IP traffic will originate with non-PC devices connected to the Internet including tablets, smartphones, and televisions, compared to 47 percent in 2015.
  • By 2020, smartphones will generate 30 percent of total IP traffic, while PCs’ total IP traffic contribution will fall to 29 percent.

Video Continues to Dominate Internet Traffic (with New Emerging Trends)

  • Internet video will increase four-fold between 2015 and 2020.
  • Consumer Internet video traffic will be 82 percent of consumer Internet traffic by 2020—up from 68 percent in 2015.
  • Business Internet video traffic will be 66 percent of business Internet traffic by 2020—up from 44 percent in 2015.
  • Video surveillance traffic nearly doubled in the past year and will grow 10-fold by 2020.
  • Virtual reality traffic quadrupled in the past year and will increase 61-fold by 2020.

Service Adoption Trends: Residential, Consumer Mobile and Business

  • Online gaming will be the fastest growing residential Internet service, growing from 1.1 billion users in 2015 to 1.4 billion users by 2020.
  • Mobile location-based service (LBS) will be the fastest growing consumer mobile service, growing from 807 million users in 2015 to over 2.3 billion users by 2020.
  • Desktop /personal videoconferencing will be the fastest growing business Internet service, growing from 95 million users in 2015 to 248 million users by 2020.

Global Wi-Fi Expansion

  • Globally, total public Wi-Fi hotspots including home spots will grow 7X from 2015 (64 million) to 2020 (432 million).
  • Globally, home spots will grow from 57 million (2015) to 423 million by 2020.
  • Expanded Wi-Fi access will enable a variety of scaling and optimization opportunities for network operators (more mobile offload, ubiquitous VoWiFi, smart cities, connected transportation and related IoT strategies). This trend also enhances quad play capabilities and provides additional access for TV Everywhere services.
  • Consumer and Business Users Prefer Mobile Over Fixed Networks: In 2015, Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices generated 62 percent of Internet traffic (Wi-Fi: 55 percent; cellular: 7 percent; fixed: 38 percent). By 2020, Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 78 percent of Internet traffic (Wi-Fi: 59 percent; cellular: 19 percent; fixed: 22 percent).