The economic downturn has had only a slight effect on IP traffic growth, which is expected to increase five-fold from 2008 to 2013, approaching 56 exabytes per month in 2013, up from approximately 9 exabytes per month in 2008. And the fastest growth will come from the Middle East and Africa.
By 2013, annual global IP traffic will reach two-thirds of a zettabyte (or 667 exabytes).
IP traffic in North America will reach 13 exabytes per month by 2013, slightly ahead of Western Europe, which will reach 12.5 exabytes per month, and behind Asia Pacific (AsiaPac), where IP traffic will reach 21 exabytes per month.
However, Middle East and Africa will grow the fastest, with a compound annual growth rate of 51 percent, reaching 1 exabyte per month in 2013.
These findings are part of the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast and Methodology, 2008-2013, developed to estimate global Internet Protocol traffic growth. Projections are based on Cisco analysis and modeling of independent analysts' forecasts.
One of the major growth drivers for IP traffic is expected to be video, accounting for 90% of all global consumer IP traffic by 2013. Meanwhile, video communications traffic (video over instant messaging and video calls) will increase 10-fold.
At the same time, mobile data traffic will roughly double each year from 2008 to 2013, increasing 66 times between 2008 and 2013. And almost 64% of the world's mobile data traffic will be video in 2013.
Consumer hyperconnectivity, which includes active digital multitasking and passive networking, increases the "digital day" as IP networks support more and more tasks and functions simultaneously from a host of networked devices.
By 2013, active digital multitasking, such as listening to online music while working online or web browsing/instant messaging while talking on the phone, will add six "network hours" to each day.
At the same time, passive networking, such DVR recording while watching other network programming, online storage backups conducted in the background of user experiences, or ambient video from such devices as a security or nanny-cam, will add another six "network hours" to each day.
Currently, there are 36 hours in a "network day." There will be approximately 48 hours in a network day by 2013.
The study finds that, not only is the number of networked devices multiplying, but the number of devices that have screens encourages more video consumption. The larger screen sizes are also accelerating the demand for higher-resolution video, thereby increasing the IP traffic required for each stream.
By 2013 the surface area of the world's digital screens will be nearly 1-billion square meters), or the equivalent of 2-billion large-screen TVs. If laid end-to-end, these screens would circle the globe more than 48 times.