With the growing number of smartphones, Internet-connected gaming consoles and tablet devices, it is obvious that that amount of data being accessed online is on the rise -- but just how much is staggering.
IP traffic worldwide is set to quadruple by 2016, according to the Visual Netwroking Index released by Cisco Systems today -- that is more data than was accessed and transferred from 1984 through 2012.
In precise terms, that means that the 369 Exabytes of IP traffic used worldwide in 2011 will be crushed by the 1.3 zettabytes expected in 2016.
As more people and devices hit the market with Wi-Fi access, the number of network connections is expected to grow from 10.3 billion in 2011 to 18.9 billion by 2016 -- that's nearly 2.5 connections for each person on the planet.
And as more devices are able to access online data, the percentage of info we get from our PCs is expected to drop. In 2011, PCs accounted for nearly 94% of all consumer Internet traffic -- that is expected to fall to 81% by 2016.
IP traffic by region
By 2016, the Asia Pacific region is forecast to generate the most IP traffic (40.5 exabytes per month), maintaining the top spot over North America (27.5 exabytes per month), which generated the second most amount of traffic.
But as for who is getting online the fastest, that segment of growing online connection is in the Middle East and Africa (which is growing by 58% annually). Latin America is also moving online quickly, with an annual growth rate of 49%.
And when it comes to which countries will be the biggest drivers of traffic in four years, you need to look no further than the U.S. (expected to hit 22 exabytes per month) and China (with 12 exabytes per month).
Globally, there are expected to be 1.5 billion Internet video users by 2016, up from 792 million Internet video users in 2011.
By 2016, TVs are expected to account for over 6% of global consumer Internet traffic (up from 4 percent in 2011), and 18% of Internet video traffic (up from 7% in 2011) -- demonstrating the impact of Web-enabled TVs as a viable online option for many consumers.
Global advanced video traffic, including 3-D and HDTV , is projected to increase five-fold between 2011 and 2016.
Mobile Internet data traffic is forecast to increase 18 times from 2011 to 2016, to 10.8 exabytes per month (or 130 exabytes annually).
By 2016, global peer-to-peer traffic is projected to account for 54% of global consumer Internet file sharing traffic, down from 77% in 2011. On a quantity basis, however, the amount of peer-to-peer traffic is expected to increase from a rate of 4.6 exabytes per month in 2011 to 10 exabytes per month by 2016.
Online music is also expected to be the most highly penetrated residential Internet service -- in 2011 there were 1.1 billion users (63% of residential Internet users); in 2016 there are forecast to be 1.8 billion users (79%of residential Internet users).
This will also be a great deal of growth in mobile consumers -- from 3.7 billion in 2011 to 4.5 billion by 2016.
And as more services extend to offer their content on mobile devices, mobile video is projected to be the fastest-growing consumer mobile service, going from 271 million users in 2011 to 1.6 billion users in 2016.
(Image Source: PCRentals)