Video streams already make up a huge portion of all Internet traffic, and according to Cisco, the percentage is going to get even bigger. The networking corporation has released its annual Internet traffic report, which states that video data will make up 84% of all Internet traffic by 2018.
The 84% figure would only be a 6% increase over video’s current 78% share, but it would still represent a huge amount of raw data. According to the report, total video traffic will equal 37 exabytes per month. That’s equal to approximately 1×1018 bytes.
This huge data usage is not necessarily caused by a huge increase in watch time but rather the proliferation of increasingly data-intensive video formats. Readers who are familiar with Sandvine’s regular Internet traffic reports will recall that Netflix eats up far more bandwidth than any other site thanks to its use of high-caliber video qualities such as 4K. By 2018, Cisco expects high-quality video to be even more popular. “In the future at some point every month is going to look like the World Cup month because the consumption just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said Robert Pepper, Cisco’s vice president of global technology policy.
Of course, this discussion ultimately comes around to net neutrality. Cisco’s team believes that huge video traffic will inhibit overall speeds. “A world in which we want networks to treat all traffic the same will inhibit these connections,” Cisco VP of government and community relations Jeff Campbell told Reuters.
The connections Campbell is talking about are the streaming services that allow Internet-ready devices to function like television, and he’s right that there will soon be a huge amount of data coming through the pipes. With such a large mountain of traffic predicted for 2018, net neutrality will become an even bigger issue than it is now–if it’s still around at that point.