Blog: The 2018 Cisco VNI for the mathematically challenged

The VNI is the only reason anyone without a math or science degree has encountered the prefixes exa- and zetta-. Most of us have no idea what they mean. So, as a public service to non-mathematicians, here are some exabyte- and zettabyte-free takeaways from this year’s Cisco VNI.

Content Dam Lw Online Articles 2018 05 Stephen Hardy Blog
Cisco has released its 2018 Visual Networking Index (VNI). As usual, this year’s VNI reports stupefyingly large numbers related to the internet that tech company marketing departments everywhere will quote for the next 12 months.

The VNI is the only reason anyone without a math or science degree has ever encountered the prefixes exa- and zetta-. Most of us without the prerequisite schooling have no idea what these prefixes mean exactly. But we’re aware that they signify really big numbers. For the record, “exa-“ denotes 1018, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. “Zetta-“ is 1021, so you can just add three more zeroes to the exa- number. A zettabyte is bigger than an exabyte. But both are really too big to think about for many without the aid of some sort of mind-altering substance.

However, that doesn’t stop Cisco from throwing around the terms like your average citizen uses them in everyday conversation. So, as a public service to non-mathematicians, here are some exabyte- and zettabyte-free takeaways from this year’s Cisco VNI:

  • This year’s VNI covers the years 2017 to 2022.
  • Internet traffic is expected to triple within that time frame.
  • “Busy hour” traffic in 2022 will be 6X greater than average traffic hours.
  • 82% of IP traffic will be video by 2022.
  • 60% of the world’s population will use the internet by 2022.
  • So will more than 28 billion devices and “connections.” More than half of these will be machine-to-machine.
  • Most internet traffic in 2022 will come from the Asia Pacific region (almost 44%), followed by North America (approximately 27%), Western Europe (about 13%), Central and Eastern Europe (6%), the Middle East and Africa (5%), and Latin America (just under 5%).
  • Average global fixed broadband speeds will nearly double from 39.0 Mbps to 75.4 Mbps.
  • Average global Wi-Fi speeds will more than double from 24.4 Mbps to 54.0 Mbps.
  • Average global mobile speeds will more than triple from 8.7 Mbps to 28.5 Mbps.
  • Generally, these figures are higher than those in the 2017 Cisco VNI (see “Cisco updates Cisco Visual Networking Index”).

You’re welcome. If you’re now feeling like you could handle a few exabytes, zettabytes, and the occasional petabyte, you can download a copy of this year’s VNI from the Cisco website.

But I’m going to leave you to figure out yourself how compound annual growth rate is calculated.

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