Cisco’s approach to forecasting IP traffic has been characterized as conservative. Emerging trends and innovations in network architectures, device/connection deployments, and application adoption/usage have the potential to increase the outlook for traffic volumes, shapes and characteristics significantly. Based on our perspective and analysis, the following topics warrant consideration as future “wildcards” in the forecasting process.
The rapid growth of mobile data traffic has been widely recognized and reported. The trend toward mobility carries over into the realm of fixed networks as well, in that an increasing portion of traffic will originate from portable or mobile devices. Figure 21 shows the growth in Wi-Fi and mobile traffic in relation to traffic from wired devices. By 2022, wired networks will account for 29 percent of IP traffic, and Wi-Fi and mobile networks will account for 71 percent of IP traffic. In 2017, wired networks accounted for 48 percent of IP traffic; Wi-Fi accounted for 43 percent; and mobile or cellular networks accounted for 9 percent of total global IP traffic.
Smartphones will grow the second fastest, at a 9 percent CAGR (increasing by a factor of 1.6). Connected TVs (which include flat-panel TVs, set-top boxes, digital media adapters [DMAs], Blu-ray disc players, and gaming consoles) will grow next fastest at 7 percent CAGR, to 3.2 billion by 2022. PCs will continue to decline (a 2.5 percent decline) over the forecast period. However, there will more PCs than tablets throughout the forecast period and by the end of 2022 (1.2 billion PCs vs. 790 million tablets).
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