It's a staggering, but not necessarily surprising claim.
By 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior ‘internet years’ combined up to the end of 2016. In other words, more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the 32 years since the internet started.
That's according to the latest Visual Networking Index (VIN) issued by Cisco. The report also estimates that 82% of all internet traffic in 2022 will be video.
So, will providers be able to keep up with this explosive growth of internet traffic? Clearly, those providers with fiber networks will be well positioned to do so. The current generation of fiber platforms are capable of up to 10 gigabit per second (Gpbs) to each premise (bidirectional). The evolution of passive optical networking (PON) used by most fiber providers has 40 Gbps on the drawing board for deployment within the next few years as needed.
Meanwhile hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) networks are upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1 platforms that allow for up to 1 Gbps download speeds, although with lower upload speed capability. The next generation of HFC platforms, called Full Duplex DOCSIS or FDX, promises to close the download-upload gap for cable operators that deploy it. The challenge for many of these companies will be whether their aging infrastructure will be capable of the kind of performance needed to deliver on the technology's promise.
Of course, there's always 5G, the white knight promising to ride in and save us all. The official 5G standard was approved earlier this year but is not expected to reach large-scale deployment until at least 2020, and then primarily in large urban areas. Although capable of gigabit speeds, 5G may or may not turn out to be a solution for high bandwidth home and business users. Plus, it will take a lot of fiber access for carriers to deploy the service.
So if Cisco's predictions come even close to reality, fiber optic networks will be most capable of handing the flood of traffic coming in the next decade.
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June 16, 2021
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