Internet users to double to 829 mn by 2021

"As global digital transformation continues to impact billions of consumers and businesses, the network and security will be essential to support the future of the Internet", said Yvette Kanouff, SVP and GM of Service Provider Business, Cisco. The number of users is set to go up by 59 percent or up to 829 million by 2021 as opposed to the present number of 373 million.

Machine-to-machine communication, also called M2M, will soar to 51 percent of internet usage, with humans picking up the rest of the slack.

M2M services that support Internet of Things (IoT) innovations - which could increase from 5.8 billion in 2016 to 13.7 billion - such as connected home, connected healthcare and smart transportation - are expected to account for more than half of those 27.1 billion devices and connections and 5% of global IP traffic by 2021. Globally, there will be almost 1.9 billion Internet video users (excluding mobile-only) by 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016.

As present trends indicate, video will continue to drive traffic in the country.

There will also be a huge amount in the amount of video viewing carried out online, particularly live content, which is set to increase 15-fold and account for 13 per cent of Internet video traffic by 2021. The consumption rate as well as quality will increase in the next five years. At the same time, the gigabyte equivalent of every movie ever made is expected to cross the UK's IP networks every 33 minutes in 2021 and gaming traffic will have multiplied by 12 (66% annual growth).

The combination of more capable devices, faster and higher bandwidth and more intelligent networks is leading to wide adoption of high-bandwidth data, video and advanced multimedia applications that contribute to increased mobile and Wi-Fi traffic, he added.

Globally, 41 per cent of Internet traffic will traverse cross-country backbones by 2021, compared to 58 per cent in 2016. With newer technologies coming in, the numbers are set to further improve. Wi-Fi hotspots will also see a huge growth worldwide, with 526.2 million units estimated to be in the wild by Cisco's deadline - with China, the United States and Japan all expected to lead the way. That up from 73 percent of all traffic in 2016.

The reports said that in the next four years, global mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent with 11.6 billion mobile-connected devices, average mobile network connection speed to increase from 6.8 Mbps to 20.4 Mbps and 53 percent of connections will be 4G and 0.2 percent will be using 5G service. With the rise of connected applications such as health monitors, medicine dispensers, and first-responder connectivity, the health vertical will be fastest-growing industry segment (30 percent CAGR).

  • Zachary Reyes