Aussie Net traffic growth to surpass global average

Data generated by smartphones, tablet devices driving growth according to Cisco

Increased adoption of smartphones and tablets such as the iPad are set to drive Australia's Internet Protocol (IP) traffic up 41 per cent year on year, eventually surpassing the average global growth rate of IP traffic, according to a Cisco report.

The estimated that by 2015, annual global IP traffic will reach 966 exabytes (an exabyte equals a quintillion bytes or 1024 petabytes); a compound annual growth of 32 per cent from 2010 to 2015.

In the same timeframe, Australia's IP traffic is estimated to have a compound annual growth of 41 per cent; equivalent to 514 petabytes per month in 2015, up from 91 petabytes in 2010.

Cisco A/NZ chief technology officer, Kevin Bloch, said that the estimated growth rates were partly due to Australians being early adopters of technology. "We already cross the percentage in terms of smartphones and have a high level of uptake," Bloch said. "A smartphone generates at least 26 times more data than a normal phone does.

"iPads and tablets require 30 times more bandwidth and business people are typically using those tablets outside of the physical business."

There are both positive and negatives to the growth in traffic, he said. "On the negative side, people have to be ready for this increase; it's showing that there is almost an exponential demand for data and information." But, he added, "if you are in the business of selling the data services that new customers are after, it's a good indicator that you will have a lot of customers coming down your way so get ready.

"The indicators are that there is a massive transition happening in every vertical towards connectivity. If you are a data centre operator, people will need more bandwidth and the demand is there."

While the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) was not taken into account in the Index, Bloch said Australians were using networks in a more mature way because of the existing infrastructure.

"We have seen in the last six months the peril of not taking heed of the online transition, and by that I mean the retail industry," he said.

"Up until the end of 2010 I think the retail industry in Australia did not take the notion of people buying online seriously. There are serious efficiencies to be gained by online shopping and retailers today in the business can not ignore it. If you looked at the data at the start of 2011, you could see in the US that more people were buying online and using their smartphones to do it."

He added that government agencies trying to connect with citizens or deploying health care services needed to take into account the move to online services.

Bloch also said that the uptake of video conferencing was slightly ahead in Australia compared to the rest of the world due to the size and remoteness of some cities.

"Our telepresence sales have been slightly higher than other countries," said Bloch.

"Video conferencing also requires more bandwidth so that would also inform why we expect Australia to have six times the growth span than the rest of the world."

This was the fifth release of Cisco's Internet traffic report.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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