With the FIFA World Cup 2014 now well underway, tens of millions of people are viewing games and/or highlights via the Internet. Video streaming and IP broadcast of the World Cup is anticipated to generate 4.3 exabytes of Internet traffic, which is three times the amount of monthly traffic generated by this year's World Cup host country, Brazil.
In addition, Internet traffic generated by the 60,000 people in a stadium and traveling to games is forecast to surpass the average busy-hour traffic from all 94 million smartphones in Brazil.
To place the World Cup in context, global IP traffic is expected to reach 132 exabytes per month by 2018, which is the equivalent to 8.8 billion screens streaming the FIFA World Cup final game in Ultra-HD/4K at the same time; 5.5 billion people binge-watching "Game of Thrones" Season 4 via video-on-demand in HD or 1.5 billion watching in Ultra-HD/4K and the season 3 premier of "House of Cards" streaming in Ultra-HD/4K on 24 billion screens at the same time. This traffic can also be compared to 940 quadrillion text messages and 4.5 trillion YouTube clips.
This is according to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Forecast and Service Adoption for 2013 to 2018 which also states that global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic will increase nearly three-fold over the next four years due to more Internet users and devices, faster broadband speeds and more video viewing. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region continues to be the fastest-growing IP traffic region from 2013 - 2018 with five-fold growth and a 38-percent CAGR.
The VNI forecast further states that the composition of IP traffic will shift dramatically in the coming years. By 2018, the majority of traffic will originate from devices other than personal computers (PCs) for the first time while Wi-Fi traffic will exceed wired traffic for the first time, and high-definition (HD) video will generate more traffic than standard-definition video.
Mobile and portable devices other than PCs will drive the majority of traffic by 2018. In 2013, 33 percent of IP traffic originated with non-PC devices. However, by 2018, the non-PC share of IP traffic will grow to 57 percent.
Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 76 percent of Internet traffic by 2018. Wi-Fi will be 61 percent, and cellular will be 15 percent with fixed traffic only accounting for 24 percent of total Internet traffic by 2018.
Desktop and personal videoconferencing will be the fastest-growing business Internet service growing from 37 million users in 2013 to 238 million users by 2018, adds the VNI forecast.
The Internet of Everything is also gaining momentum, and there will be nearly as many machine-to-machine (M2M) modules as there are people by 2018. For example, smart cars will have nearly four M2M connections per car.
Commenting on the report, Sabrina Dar, GM, Cisco East Africa said: "Our first Cisco Visual Networking Index nine years ago established the zettabyte as a major milestone for global IP traffic. Today, we are firmly in the 'Zettabyte Era' and witnessing incredible innovations and shifts in the industry. The reality of the Internet of Everything (IoE), the increasing demand for network mobility, and the emergence of 4K video are among the key trends highlighted in this year's forecast that represent significant opportunities for service providers in East Africa".