Internet growth: Fast or faster?

by on June 17, 2008 · 22 comments

Cisco continues to do interesting work estimating the impact of video on Internet traffic. With the release of two new detailed reports, updating last year’s “Exabyte Era” paper, they’ve now created a “Visual Networking Index.” These reports follow my own series  of articles and reports on the topic. 

Cisco’s Internet traffic growth projections for the next several years continue to be somewhat lower than mine. But since their initial report last August, they have raised their projected compound annual growth rate from 43% to 46%. Cisco thus believes world IP traffic will approach half a zettabyte (or 500 exabytes) by 2012. My own projections yield a compound annual growth rate for U.S. IP traffic of around 58% through 2015. This slightly higher growth rate would produce a U.S. Internet twice as large in 2015 compared to Cisco’s projections. Last winter George Gilder and I estimated that world IP traffic will pass the zettabyte (1,000 exabytes) level in 2012 or 2013.

For just one example of the new applications that will drive IP traffic growth, look at yesterday’s announcement by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Partnering with my friend, the young graphics pioneer Jules Urbach, AMD previewed its Cinema 2.0 project, which combines the best of cutting edge technology and thinking from video games, movies, graphics processors, and computer generated imaging — with lots of artistic insight and inspiration — to create new kinds of interactive real-life real-time 3D virtual worlds, all powered not by supercomputers but simple video cards that you find in PCs and Macs, or from servers in the “cloud.”

A photorealistic 3D robot and city scene rendered in real-time. (AMD; Business Wire)

A photorealistic 3D robot and city scene rendered in real time. (AMD; Business Wire)

The huge increases in bandwidth and robust traffic management needed to deliver these new high-end real-time services continue to show why net neutrality regulation and other artificial limitations on traffic management are complete non-starters from a technical perspective.

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