More web traffic will be created in 2022 than in the first 32 years of the Internet

By 2022, the world will create more web traffic in a single year than they did in the first 32 years of the Internet.

Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that global IP traffic will increase from 122 Exabytes a month in 2016 to 396 Exabytes within five years. That amounts to 4.8 Zettabytes every calendar year.

“The size and complexity of the internet continues to grow in ways that many could not have imagined,” said Jonathan Davidson, head of Cisco’s Service Provider Business. “Since we first started the VNI Forecast in 2005, traffic has increased 56-fold.

Cisco VNI

This dramatic increase can be attributed to the ever-increasing number of users and devices as well as changing behaviours and rising speeds. By 2022, the number of web users will reach 4.8 billion – up from 3.4 billion in 2017 – while there will be 28.5 billion connections.

The average fixed line broadband speed will jump from 39Mbps to 75.4Mbps, while mobile speeds will increase from 8.7Mbps to 28.5Mbps and 4G and 5G technologies continue their spread.

Video will continue to have a major impact, accounting for 82 per cent of all traffic, while new, data-intensive applications in the field of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will also drive consumption.

In the UK, the gigabyte equivalent of every movie ever made will cross the UK’s IP network every 26 minutes and the number of connections per person will increase from 6 to 10. Average monthly data consumption per person will rise from 79.6GB to 200GB and some households will even use 1TB a month.

The rise of mobile devices can be best demonstrated the fact that mobile data traffic will be equivalent to nine times the entire of the UK Internet in 2005.

All of this is challenging fixed line and mobile operators who will have to deploy new technologies to cope with this explosion in demand.

“Global service providers are focused on transforming their networks to better manage and route traffic, while delivering premium experiences,” concluded Davidson. “Our ongoing research helps us gain and share valuable insights into technology and architectural transitions our customers must make to succeed.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.