A zettabyte is almost too big to comprehend so Cisco tries with a metaphor; it is equivalent to about 250 billion DVD movies. The internet will reach 2 zettabytes per year by 2019 and video will account for 80% of that, estimates Cisco.
Driven by 4K and VR video
1024 gigabytes is 1 terabyte. 1024 terabytes is 1 petabyte. 1024 petabytes is 1 exabyte. 1024 exabytes is 1 zettabyte. In 2011, Cisco predicted that global internet traffic would reach 1 zettabyte by 2015 but has since revised the year it to 2016. It will take just three additional years to reach 2 zettabytes.
Not surprisingly, video will account for the majority of internet traffic by 2019. Video accounted for 67 percent of traffic in 2014 and is expected to account for 80 percent in 2019 (even higher if file sharing is included). Cisco believes that 4K video will push video to new heights. It is estimated that there will be 371 million 4K TVs in use by 2019, more than 30 percent of the installed base. The use of tablets, phones and PCs for video streaming are also expected to rise.
Cisco believes that more video will be delivered via CDNs (content delivery network) in the future. In fact, it sees that number grow to 62 percent. Companies such as Netflix, Google, Facebook, and recently Apple all use CDNs to optimize video and content delivery, placing servers close to your home.
Netflix alone is estimated to account for 37 percent of US internet traffic on fixed lines in the US during peak hours, according to Sandvine. YouTube is also one of the heavyweights. In the coming years, an increasing number of consumers are expected to stream TV content over the internet instead of receiving TV broadcasts over cable or terrestrial.
The internet will continue to grow exponentially and in a few years from now 4K video streaming on TVs will be almost as widespread as HD video is today. Imagine where we stand 10 years from now.