Cisco projects over 3 zettabytes Internet traffic by 2021 and India will contribute a big part of that

Total global Internet traffic is projected to rise to 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of data in 2021, while there will be more M2M communications than humans using machines.

Published Date
09 - Jun - 2017
| Last Updated
09 - Jun - 2017
Cisco projects over 3 zettabytes Internet traffic by 2021 and Ind...

Consider this the next time you whip out your shiny new phone to cast to the Chromecast. A new report by Cisco (called the Cisco Visual Networking Index) says that by 2021, there will be more machines talking to each other, than humans using machines. According to Cisco, these machines will account for over half of the 27.1 billion devices and connections by that year. These machines and other Internet traffic will increase to 3 zettabyes (3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) by 2021.

Wait, are you talking about machine voices?

No, actually, although voices like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Bixby have a lot to do with it. When you tell the Google Assistant to turn on the lights in your room, or turn on the television, the artificial intelligence sends a string of binary code to the television, telling it “Hey, turn on, will ya”. With the Internet of Things ecosystem growing, this “talking” amongst machines is only going to increase. These are known as M2M (Machine-to-Machine) connections.

What Cisco is saying is that the Internet of Things ecosystem is going to drive technological innovation in the coming days. The (approximately) 14 billion devices mentioned above includes everything with the word “smart” in it. So, your smartphones will be talking to smart TVs, smart refrigerators, security systems like Nest, home automation speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo, and more. 

Why does this matter to you?

The Cisco Visual Networking Index also projects increase in IP traffic in India to 829 million in 2021, from 373 million in 2016. The report says 59 percent of the Indian population will contribute to the global IP traffic by 2021. Furthermore, “There will be 2 billion networked devices in 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016,” says the report. 

So, a big part of the 3 zettabyte Internet traffic is going to come from India. When you consider that alongside the fact that India is the fastest growing Internet market in the world, our contribution to global Internet traffic is going to be awfully important. Cisco’s report makes projections for 2021, but with markets like US, China etc. saturating fast, India stands to possibly contribute the most amount of data to global traffic beyond 2021.

“Mobile networks, devices and connections in India are not only getting smarter in their computing capabilities but are also evolving from lower-generation network connectivity (2G) to higher-generation network connectivity (3G, 3.5G, and 4G or LTE). Combining device capabilities with faster, higher bandwidth and more intelligent networks is leading to wide adoption of high bandwidth data, video and advanced multimedia applications that contribute to increased mobile and Wi-Fi traffic” said Sanjay Kaul, Managing Director, Service Provider Business, Cisco India & SAARC. 

This, in turn means that companies will be flooding to our borders. Evolving technology opens doors for more advanced products to be sold in the country. So, while we’re in the nascent stages of media streaming, cloud support and more, we should be at the forefront by 2021 and beyond.

Of course, Cisco’s report doesn’t necessarily confirm all of the above, but it paints a picture of a much more technologically evolved India, and of course the globe. If all other parameters, like growth in income etc. improve substantially, you’re headed towards a pretty tech evolved period in your life.


Prasid BanerjeePrasid Banerjee

Trying to explain technology to my parents. Failing miserably.