For 2018, Cisco is now forecasting that bandwidth consumption will reach 1.6 zettabytes. In its 2013 VNI forecast, Cisco had predicted that bandwidth consumption in 2017 would reach 1.4 zettabytes. A zettabyte is equal to 1000 exabytes, which is one sextillion bytes.
Even though the VNI forecast is a five-year projection for traffic, it isn’t just a shot in the dark. Cisco has a sophisticated model for collecting data from multiple sources to obtain a high degree of forecast accuracy. Thomas Barnett, director of service provider marketing at Cisco, told Enterprise Networking Planet that, for example, Cisco had originally forecast traffic in 2013 to be 50 exabytes, while the actual number came in at 51 exabytes.
A number of key trends are driving the increased bandwidth number over the next five years. One of those trends is mobility and non-PC devices. By 2018, Cisco predicts that non-PC IP traffic will represent 57 percent of bandwidth, up from 33 percent in 2013.