Global Internet traffic is expected to increase threefold over the next five years.
This morning Cisco released its annual Visual Networking Index, the report that tracks Internet traffic patterns from around the world. The document-meets-data-trove forecasts, among other things, broadband usage for two and three and four years from now.
Below are Cisco's projections for Internet traffic over the next four years. One key milestone it encompasses: Cisco is predicting that global IP traffic will surpass 1.3 zettabytes in size by 2016. That's huge in every sense: A zettabyte is equal to a trillion gigabytes, or a sextillion bytes. Which is in turn equal to many, many bytes. (And 1.3 zettabytes is a per year stat: In terms of monthly traffic, citizens of the world of 2016 can expect traffic of 109.5 exabytes a month.)
Also notable is Cisco's projection that global IP traffic will increase threefold over the next five years. (That's after an eightfold increase over the past five years alone.) Particularly in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, traffic growth will explode. And that, of course, will have social and economic and geopolitical ramifications -- some of which we can forecast, and others of which we can't yet imagine.