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The new Cisco Visual Networking Index Complete Forecast indicates that M2M connections, which support Internet of Things (IoT) applications, will make up more than half of the total number of 27.1 billion Internet devices by 2021 and account for 5% of all global IP traffic.

These figures clearly show just why it’s so vital to take full account of not only the potential business benefits that IoT can deliver to your business but equally importantly the likely impact of its use on your IP network.

The report spells out how IoT innovations in connected home, connected healthcare, smart cars/transportation and a host of other next-generation M2M services are driving this incremental growth – a 2.4-fold increase from 5.8 billion in 2016 to 13.7 billion by 2021.

With the rise of connected applications such as health monitors, medicine dispensers, and first-responder connectivity, the health market will be the fastest-growing industry segment with a 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The connected car and connected cities applications will have the second-fastest growth, both at 29% CAGR.

Elsewhere, the next five years will see global digital transformation continue to have a significant impact on the demands and requirements of IP networks, with the report predicting global IP traffic will increase three-fold reaching an annual run rate of 3.3 zettabytes by 2021, up from an annual run rate of 1.2 zettabytes in 2016.

Other top-level figures for the period in question include:

  • An increase of over 1 billion internet users, rising from 3.3 to 4.6 billion
  • Average broadband speed to rise from 27.5Mbps to 53.0Mbps
  • More video viewing, increasing from 73% to 82% of total IP traffic
  • Video will continue to dominate both IP traffic and overall internet traffic growth, representing 80% of all internet traffic by 2021, up from 67% in 2016
  • The world will reach a staggering three trillion internet video minutes per month by 2021, which roughly equates to five million years of video per month, or about one million video minutes every second…

Of course with these massive increases in internet usage come the inevitable security threats. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the report reveals the average DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks size is increasing steadily and approaching 1.2 Gbps – enough to take most organisations completely offline

DDoS incidents can paralyse networks by flooding servers and network devices with traffic from multiple IP sources. Worryingly the figures show the major projected global growth in the number of such attacks, which grew 172% in 2016 and will increase 2.5-fold to 3.1 million by 2021.

But perhaps one of the stand-out figures is that the peak sizes of DDoS attacks have increased 60% year over year and are now at such a level that they can represent up to 18% of a country’s total Internet traffic while they are occurring!

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