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Streaming Video, CDNs and the Internet in 2018

streaming video usage by 2018
There are a lot of different sources out there predicting the growth of the Internet. One of the most interesting and thorough is the Cisco Visual Network Index. In recent posts I’ve quoted a few statistics from the latest release of the index in June, but it’s worth while to take a look the predictions all on their own. So I’ve pulled out a few key elements related to online streaming video and aspects of the Internet that will impact it in the future.

Increases in traffic

The amount of traffic flowing through the Internet is already pretty unimaginable. But it keeps getting bigger. Here’s what Cisco says the traffic will be in 2018:

“IP traffic in Western Europe will reach 19.3 exabytes per month by 2018, at a CAGR of 18 percent.”

They go on to say that this amount of traffic is the equivalent of about 4 billion DVDs each month. Notice that’s just in Western Europe. It’s getting really crowded on the network isn’t it?

Another fascinating number is the amount of traffic for mobile data:

“Globally, mobile data traffic will increase 11-fold between 2013 and 2018Mobile data traffic will grow at a CAGR of 61 percent between 2013 and 2018, reaching 15.9 exabytes per month by 2018.

The global mobile traffic will be almost the equivalent of the IP traffic in Western Europe (according the first statistic above) by 2018. And while in 2013 mobile data traffic amounts to just 3% of the total IP traffic it will be as much as 12% of the total by 2018. With all the hype about mobile taking over the 12% number seems a bit low. Then again Cisco calculates these things in a very specific fashion so I trust it represents what it says it does.

CDNs take over

Here’s a snippet of what Cisco says about CDN use:

“With the emergence of popular video streaming services that deliver Internet video to the TV and other device end points, content delivery networks have prevailed as a dominant method to deliver such content. Globally, 55 percent of all Internet traffic will cross content delivery networks by 2018, up from 36 percent in 2013. Globally, 67 percent of all Internet video traffic will cross content delivery networks by 2018, up from 53 percent in 2013.”

This is confirmation that it will become more necessary to use CDNs to deliver streaming video as the Internet becomes flooded with more and more video traffic.

Millions of minutes of video

Humans are a creative bunch that love making and watching video apparently. Cisco reports that by 2018, almost a million minutes of streaming video content will travel the Internet every second. The total amount of video on demand (all sources) will amount to 6 billion DVDs per month in 2018 – double what it was in 2013. Here are a couple other neat, and astounding, predictions:

“It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2018. “

“Globally, IP video traffic will be 79 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2018, up from 66 percent in 2013.”

The full report goes into great detail on the methodology they use and provides details in tables indicating year by year growth. If you’re interested in reading it you can find it here.

Do you think Cisco is on track with their predictions? Will online video be even bigger than they say?

Oliver Burt

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