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Cisco announced the results of the annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, 2009-2014, which projected global Internet traffic will increase more than fourfold to 767 exabytes (an exabyte equals one quintillion bytes) by 2014. This amount is 100 exabytes higher than the projected level in 2013, or an increase the equivalent of 10 times all the traffic traversing Internet Protocol (IP) networks in 2008. The forecast, which focuses on two primary user groups, consumers and businesses, was developed as an annual study to estimate global IP traffic growth and trends.

Global business IP Traffic is forecast to reach 7.7 exabytes per month in 2014, more than tripling from 2009-2014. Business video conferencing is projected grow ten-fold over the forecast period, growing almost three times as fast as overall business IP traffic, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57 percent from 2009-2014. The growth in traffic will continue to be dominated by video, exceeding 91 percent of global consumer IP traffic by 2014.

The company cited improvements in network bandwidth capacity and Internet speeds, along with the increasing popularity of HDTV and 3DTV, as key factors expected to quadruple IP traffic from 2009 to 2014. Cisco projected that by 2014, it would take more than two years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks every second and to watch all the video crossing the network that year would take 72 million years.

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The company also project consumer IP traffic would grow faster than business. For 2009, consumer IP traffic represented 79 percent of monthly total global IP traffic and business IP traffic was 21 percent of monthly total global IP traffic. By 2014, Cisco predicted consumer IP traffic (web surfing, instant messaging, user-generated videos, etc.) would represent 87 percent of monthly total global IP traffic, while business IP traffic (email, voice, Internet, HD and web-based video conferencing, etc.) would represent 13 percent of monthly total global IP traffic.

"Service providers are faced with evolving bandwidth and scalability requirements as residential, business and mobile consumers continue to demonstrate a healthy appetite for advanced video services across a variety of networks and devices. IP networks must be intelligent and flexible enough to support this tremendous variety of traffic growth,” said Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager, service provider group, Cisco. “The Cisco VNI Forecast offers a global snapshot of video’s significance in our daily lives and signals the need for further network preparations to support the quadrupling of the Internet and the more than 1 billion online video users by 2014."