Although many people say the future of the Internet in South Africa is mobile, new research from networking equipment manufacturer Cisco suggests it’s fixed lines and Wi-Fi hotspots that are going to drive the real demand for data. Fixed-line and Wi-Fi traffic made up 51% of total Internet protocol (IP) traffic in South Africa in 2013, and this figure will grow to 65% of total traffic in 2018, according to the latest Cisco Virtual Networking Index Global Forecast and Service Adoption report for 2013 to 2018. Just over a quarter of a million Internet households, or 21,7% of all Internet households, will consume more than 100GB/month of data in 2018, up from about 116 000 in 2013. In the same period, total Internet traffic will grow four-fold, a compound annual growth rate of 36%.
That growth will be propelled by IP video traffic, which will grow six-fold in South Africa from 2013 to 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 44%, while high-definition content will make up 10,1% of total IP video traffic in 2018, up from 2,8% in 2013. The country will have 147,7m networked devices in 2018, up from 92,4m in 2013, the Cisco report says. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region continues to be the fastest-growing IP traffic region in the forecast period, with five-fold growth between 2013 and 2018. Global IP traffic is expected to reach 132 exabytes per month by 2018, which is equivalent to 8,8bn screens streaming the football World Cup final in ultra HD/4K at the same time or sending 940 quadrillion text messages or 4,5 trillion YouTube clips, Cisco says.
The composition of global IP traffic will shift dramatically in the coming years. By 2018, the majority of traffic will originate from devices other than PCs for the first time. Wi-Fi traffic will exceed wired traffic for the first time, and HD video will generate more traffic than standard-definition video. In 2013, 33% of IP traffic originated with non-PC devices. However, by 2018, the non-PC share of IP traffic will grow to 57%. Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 76% of Internet traffic by 2018. Wi-Fi will be 61%, and cellular will be 15%. Fixed traffic will be only 24% of total Internet traffic by 2018. Global broadband speeds will reach 42Mbit/s on average by 2018, up from 16Mbit/s at the end of 2013. Online video will be the fastest-growing residential Internet service, growing from 1,2bn users to 1,9bn users by 2018. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media
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