'Internet of Things' Becomes Internet of Everything

Gigabytes? How Quaint. Cisco, NetworkWorld Predict Crazy Increases in Mobile Traffic, Internet Data

By Joe Feeley

As discrete manufacturing and machine controls become inexorably entangled in networking, mobile connectivity and their ilk, we run into staggering estimates of the technology's overwhelming stranglehold on everything. "The Internet of Things" is becoming the Internet of Everything.

In February this year, Cisco published its Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, part of an ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications on global networks. The paper presents some of Cisco's major projections and growth trends.

SEE ALSO: 'Internet of Things' Grows From Industry

Worldwide mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold over the next four years, reaching 134 exabytes by 2017. Exabyte? An exabyte is equal to one quintillion bytes. I'll leave it to you to do the math that gets you back to those trifling gigabytes.

Cisco says the expected steady increase in mobile traffic is partly due to continued strong growth in the number of mobile Internet connections, meaning personal devices and machine-to-machine applications, and will exceed the world's estimated population of 7.6 billion by 2017.

What does an annual 134 exabytes of data traffic represent? Cisco says it's 134 times all the Internet Protocol traffic (fixed and mobile) generated in 2000; it's 30 trillion images, via MMS or Instagram for example, or 10 images daily from each person on earth for one year; it's 3 trillion video clips, about one video clip daily from each person on earth for more than one year.

By the end of this year alone, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the earth's population. Two-thirds of the world's mobile data traffic will be video by 2017.

Maybe you don't find those figures difficult to get your head around, but I do.

The trail from the Cisco report led me to an article by Jim Duffy of NetworkWorld, who passed along some compelling numbers about Ethernet's growth during its first 40 years. He writes that as bandwidth requirements in data centers keep rising to accommodate the growth in users and the service levels they demand, we're watching the progression from 10 to 40 to 100 G Ethernet. "Soon, Gigabit Ethernet will go the way of Fast Ethernet," Duffy states.

But 20 years before the World Wide Web, Duffy reports, Ethernet speeds increased by an order of magnitude about every 10 years or less, from 10 Mbps in 1973-83 to 100 Mbps in 1993, 1 G in 1998, 10 G in 2002 and 100 G in 2013.

Does that mean we'll see Terabit Ethernet in 2023? "We're already on the way," Duffy answers. "The IEEE recently launched a study group to explore development of a 400 Gbps Ethernet standard to support booming demand for network bandwidth."