What a difference a year makes. For its 2010 analysis of global Internet traffic, Cisco didn't include any projections for the nascent tablet computer market. This year, it's estimating that tablets, such as Apple's iPad (introduced in January 2010), the Blackberry Playbook and the Motorola Xoom, will fuel a surge in Internet traffic.
"Sixty percent of `net traffic by 2015 will be generated by tablets," said Suraj Shetty, vice president of worldwide service provider marketing for Cisco, during a Wednesday news conference on the company's latest forecast. The sudden rise in popularity of tablets "was definitely a big surprise," he added. Cisco also predicts that in four years, the number of network-connected devices will surpass 15 billion, twice the world's population. Online video also will be a major driver of Internet, accounting for two-thirds of Internet usage four years from now.
Cisco held its briefing as the House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee convened a hearing on encouraging television broadcasters to voluntarily relinquish spectrum that would be auctioned to mobile service providers. While Cisco is on record urging Washington to free up more airwaves for wireless broadband, Shetty said the company plans to announce a technology breakthrough next week that would "optimize" broadband networks so they can better accommodate the increased demand.
Nevertheless, he warned: "That's not going to take away the need for more spectrum." For complete coverage of Cisco's global Internet projections, click here