With today's release of its Visual Networking Index (VNI), Cisco once again introduced the world to the mind-boggling compilation of zettabytes and petabytes that the world's growing Internet base will soon be hurtling through from a growing array of devices and platforms.
Across the globe, IP traffic will reach 396 exabytes per month by 2022, up from 122 exabytes per month in 2017. That's a grand total of 4.8 zettabytes of traffic per year by 2022 being carried by broadband, WiFi and mobile speeds at more than double today's average -- within only five years. (See Cisco: Internet Traffic Hits 4.8 Zettabytes Annually by 2022.)
Amid this year's numbers are Visual Networking Indexmany highlights and pearls of insight that can help service providers design their own infrastructure, decide on future technology and personnel investments, and determine the directions their organization should take (or avoid).
Here's a look at three broadband trends and what they mean for operators.
The busy hour
One of the biggest challenges facing broadband providers in the next five years is not preparing for the steadily increasing growth in daily traffic by Internet users worldwide. Rather, it is the spike in demand during peak hours for speed-hungry, symmetrical applications such as video, that operators must address for about 60 minutes.
(Source: Cisco VNI)
In fact, by 2022, peak-hour usage -- or "the busiest hour" -- will be six times more active than the average hour, according to Cisco's VNI.This busy-hour Internet traffic will increase 37% between 2017 and 2022, hitting 7.2 petabytes per second by 2022, VNI reports. Average Internet traffic, by comparison, is predicted to grow 30% over that timeframe, reaching 1 petabyte by 2022, according to Cisco.
More than 50% of all devices and connections will be machine-to-machine in 2022, compared with 34% in 2017. Customers will need storage -- primarily cloud-based -- for much of the music, video and other content pouring in and out of 14.6 billion smart speakers, light bulbs and any other connected thing, versus 6.1 billion in 2017.
(Source: Cisco VNI)
This ties in with smart home growth -- 20% CAGR over the report's five-year period -- and smart cities, predicted to increase at 26% CAGR. These connected locales are not the fastest-growing verticals or markets, however, according to VNI. Service providers should consider their existing or anticipated business models and how other high-growth areas such as connected car (28%), connected health (22%) or connected work (15%) tie in. Energy also is explosive, with CAGR of 24%, VNI reports.
Unsurprisingly given our usage history, the amount of traffic each individual generates will increase at an astounding rate. That's due to a combination of the anticipated growth in connected devices (to 28.5 billion fixed and mobile personal devices and connections, up from 18 billion in 2017 or 3.6 networked devices or connections per person, from 2.4 per person) and four-fold growth in video and gaming traffic.
We'll watch and create more video, especially 4K video, VNI predicts -- an estimate in line with many other research firms and matched by the reams of commercials, online ads and newspaper fliers bombarding consumers this holiday season. There's little doubt that, with the price of 4K TVs dropping so dramatically and content creators leveraging the high-quality displays, these screens soon will be ubiquitous.
Currently the domain of gamers and the occasional training department or government agency -- think Defense -- artificial intelligence and virtual reality will hit corporate America within the next half-decade. This buy-in will generate 65% CAGR between 2017 and 2022, generating 4.02 exabytes in five years, compared with 0.33 exabytes last year.
Ultimately, VNI's numbers and trends all add up to several vital takeaways:
Broadband infrastructure continues to play a critical role but must be flexible, adaptable and economical enough for providers to cost-effectively and quickly adapt to users' rapidly evolving and data-demanding needs
The battle for all these connected verticals -- homes, workplaces, healthcare providers and more -- will get even more rigorous as existing providers seek new roles with their customers
Security, storage and data privacy will become increasingly critical to individuals and businesses
Differentiation is key -- and service providers can find many avenues to accomplish this
What are your biggest takeaways from this year's report?
Deploying DOCSIS 3.1 across its entire footprint gave Rogers Communications the ability to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s,
contributing to a broadband segement that generated about 60% of the Canadian operator's $3.05 billion (US) in Q4 cable earnings.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
As the pool of savvy, fiber-rich operators across the US rural and regional landscape wanes, the financial community will grow even more interested in acquiring or investing in them, a CoBank report says.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.