Cisco released its annual Visual Networking Index, and the report contained quite the whopper. Web traffic, the report predicts, will quadruple by 2016. The report predicts 1.3 zettabytes in annual traffic in 2016. The 2011 total online traffic was 369 exabytes.
The report also predicts 19 billion network connections, which accounts for two-and-a-half connections per person on earth, and that about half of all connections will be Wi-Fi connections. The higher number of connections and easier access to Wi-Fi spots are two of the possible reasons for the expected internet traffic boom. The increase in smart phone and tablet popularity is expected to largely contribute to the increase in total connections.
Cisco also expects 3.4 billion internet users, which it notes is about 45% of the projected global population in 2016. Higher broadband speeds are also expected to play a role in the higher traffic, allowing users quicker access to the internet. Cisco also sees the growing popularity of internet video as a contributor to the overall increase in internet usage as more and more people take advantage on online streaming services, and some begin to offer original programming.
Jordan Robinson of Bloomberg, though, notes that the internet traffic growth rate is actually declining. “Cisco forecasts the annual growth rate tapering from 42 percent this year, to 34 percent in 2013, and 31 percent in 2014,” he wrote.
Still, the boom in internet traffic is yet another indicator of the value in accessible information and user interaction that has been so popular with Usenet, which preceded the World Wide Web. As internet traffic has grown over the year and is expected to quadruple by 2016, Usenet has survived as a valued part of it all.