Improving Network Recording and Storage Efficiency with Taps, Aggregation and Filtering
10 Ways to Secure Your Network (by Veronica Henry)

Global IP Traffic to Quintuple in 2013 (by Michael Patterson)

This awesome growth is predicted a release titled - “Cisco Targets Emerging Internet Video Market”  published  in 2009.  Cisco estimates that the overall IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 percent. You might think the growth is from P2P traffic which was estimated to be 50% of all internet traffic in 2008.  Although P2P is expected to grow in volume, it is estimated to shrink to 20% of overall internet traffic by 2013.   

What is consuming all of this additional bandwidth?  

Back in 1999 Cisco posted a press release titled Cisco Targets Emerging Internet Video Market.  In it, Jack Bradley (formerly General Manager of the Cisco Video Internet Services Unit and now at Packet Design made the following statement: “These product releases and the creation of the video solution center make a strong statement that Cisco sees the market for IP video taking off in the next few years." 

Cisco may have hit the mark as they continue to buy companies related to VoIP and Video:

ExtendMedia - August 26, 2010

Tandberg - October 1, 2009

Pure Digital Technologies Inc. - March 19, 2009

DiviTech A/S - June 10, 2008

Note: you can find all the Cisco acquisitions on their web site.

Interesting Statistics

Take a look at the claims Cisco is making in the Forecast and Methodology publication:

  • In 2013, the Internet will be nearly four times larger than it is in 2009.
  • The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand, Internet, and P2P) will account for over 91 percent of global consumer traffic by 2013
  • In 2013, Internet video will be nearly 700 times the U.S. Internet backbone in 2000
  • Globally, mobile data traffic will double every year through 2013
  • Almost 64 percent of the world's mobile data traffic will be video by 2013
  • IP traffic is growing fastest in the Middle East and Africa

Observe the table below from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, Forecast and Methodology to compare “File Sharing” to “Internet Video to PC” in 2010 and 2013. 

Global Consumer Internet traffic

For more review and deeper details, download the Cisco white paper.  

Notice above that video will become the number one IP carried media in 2011.  What applications are these companies using?  Sites such the following are leading the charge:

  • Skype

Not surprisingly, nowhere in the Cisco document did they forecast an internet crash. Why not?  Well, maybe it is because Cisco has a solution for preparing network infrastructures for video called Cisco Medianet.  You can bet that some consumers will need to upgrade their routers and switches in order to support the demands that video can place on the infrastructure.  Before you do it, I suggest outlining a good business case for the video applications and a thorough network traffic audit using a NetFlow Analyzer.  

A Business Case for Video

What is driving the need for video over your network? Is it customers or employee communications?  Make sure your business case can justify the potential expense of a fork lift network upgrade. Maybe supporting video will help drive additional revenue.

Network Traffic Audit

What traffic currently exists on the network?  Does this traffic need to be there?  How much social network traffic do you have on your network?  Can it be reprioritized by setting up a DiffServ domain so that voice take precedence?  Taking an initial traffic audit and possibly making a few QoS prioritization (i.e. DSCP) changes may give you enough additional bandwidth to avoid immediate hardware investments. 

The week of March 7th 2010, Facebook was over 7% of all internet traffic in the United States.  YouTube accounts for another 2% of all internet traffic in the USA.  When you combine Google properties with Yahoo properties and social networking sites, it adds up to over 30% of all internet traffic in the USA.  Most network admins agree that monitoring and throttling this type of traffic has become necessary.  Use technologies such as NetFlow and sFlow to track down what and who is consuming the current bandwidth.  Once you look in, you may find yourself cleaning up a long overdue mess.


NetFlow Provides the Details

By collecting NetFlow off of existing routers and switches, admin’s cannot only track social networking traffic, they can also verify DSCP values and ensure that critical services such as VoIP are not competing for bandwidth.  Cisco continues to pour money into this technology with the next generation called Flexible NetFlow (FnF) which basically builds on NetFlow v9.  Flexible NetFlow allows for exports with details that include syslogs, MAC addresses, VLAN IDs and NBAR.  It is clear that NetFlow is part of Cisco’s proactive plan to monitor network traffic.   With network traffic growing an expected 4 times by 2013 Cisco understands that we will need a way to manage it. I wonder what provisions in NetFlow reporting they have planned for video?

If you need to know what is on your network, NetFlow is the way to seedownload Scrutinizer here.

Mike Patterson

Author Profile
 - Michael Patterson is currently the Product Manager of Scrutinizer NetFlow and sFlow Analyzer at Plixer International. Prior to Plixer Michael worked for Cabletron Systems as the Director for outsourced network management.