North American Network Traffic Forecast 2011

Market Studies

1394 Market and Technology Study

North American Network
Traffic Forecast 2011

Published: February 22, 2011


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Understanding network traffic is fundamental to any marketing or business plan. This new report, “North American Network Traffic Forecast 2011,” by the Lightwave Report Series author, Clifford Holliday, provides detailed telecommunications forecasts for North America thorough 2016. It is our first traffic forecast report since Mr. Holliday’s 2006 report on this subject. That 2006 report became an instant industry classic, setting the standard for traffic forecasts for many years.

This latest report forecasts an astounding 100 Exabytes of traffic on the North American network by 2016.

Since the 2006 effort, many changes have occurred that dramatically impact the nature of network traffic. These changes, which are fully considered in this new report, include the following:

The dramatic rise in traffic from advanced access architecture (AAA) lines (FTTP and FTTN); • The startling increase in IPTV traffic;

  • The increase in popularity of using mobile devices and especially using them for data-intensive applications — smartphones and tablets;

  • The increase in overseas traffic, especially from the booming economies of the Far East;

  • The relative decline (in the period of this forecast) of high-speed access lines and the traffic from them. This includes xDSL lines and cable modems.

“North American Network Traffic Forecast 2011” provides year-by-year forecasts for many classes of traffic, including the following:

  1. High-speed access traffic
  2. Dialup data traffic
  3. AAA lines data traffic
  4. Mobile data traffic
  5. International traffic (into and out of North America)
  6. VoIP traffic
  7. Other data networks traffic
  8. Private line traffic
  9. Voice traffic
  10. IPTV traffic

In addition to individual forecasts for each of the above, the report provides forecasts for total network traffic and Internet traffic, as well as the relevant growth rates.

Augmenting the very detailed discussion, there are 60 charts and figures to provide all the data on traffic necessary to achieve a full understanding of the forecasts.

Traffic quantities are of importance to anyone trying to develop market plans for telecommunications equipment and facilities. Traffic quantities and changes in growth rates are important because of their fundamental role in the following:

  • Determining the need for equipment additions by the multitude of carriers contributing to the various segments of this network of networks

  • Supporting facility additions (fiber and fiber routes)

  • Requiring additions to cable company networks for high-speed data; • Defining the need for higher-speed accesses and all the equipment associated with providing that extra speed

  • Supporting the ever-increasing need for safety of data, continuity of service, and privacy of data
  • Suggesting the growing value of advertising and similar activities on the Internet

The author provides copious information in the Appendixes to allow telecommunications professionals — even those not schooled in traffic forecasting — to understand the terminology and concepts.

Table of Contents

The Lightwave Network Series of Reports

The Lightwave Network

The Lightwave Series of Reports

General Reports on the Network

General Market Reports

Specific Systems Reports

Executive Summary

Approach to Forecasting Traffic on the Internet

High-speed Access Lines (xDSL and Cable Modems)

Traffic Forecast for High-speed Users

Dialup Traffic

Advanced Access Architecture (AAA) Traffic

Mobile Traffic

Total Internet Traffic

International Traffic

VoIP Traffic

Other Data Networks

Private Line Networks

Voice Traffic

Total Network Traffic



Approach to Forecasting Traffic on the Internet

Total Network Traffic


Major Traffic Sources


Four Other (Non-IPTV) Sources of Traffic

AAA Access Lines

Mobile Devices

International Traffic

High-speed Access Lines

High-speed Access Lines

High-speed Access Lines Forecast

Household Penetration — New Forecast

Traffic Forecast for High-speed Users

High-speed Line Traffic

Rationale for Updating the Traffic Forecast High-speed Lines

New High-speed (xDSL and Cable Modem) per-line Traffic Forecast

Change to 75% of BH to Average

Components of BH Traffic Change Over Time

New Internet Traffic Forecast from High-speed Lines (xDSL and Cable Modem)

Dialup Traffic

AAA Traffic

Mobile Traffic

Total Internet Traffic Forecast

Lightwave Network

Network Location of Internet Traffic

Internet Traffic Forecast

Other Traffic Types on the Backbone Network

International Traffic

Network Location of International Traffic

Forecast for International Traffic

VoIP Traffic

Location of VoIP Traffic on the Network

Forecast for VoIP Traffic

Other Data Networks

Location of Other Network Traffic

Forecast for Other Network Traffic

Private Line Networks

Location of Private Line Traffic

Forecast for Private Line Traffic

Voice Traffic

Location of Voice Traffic

Forecast for Voice Traffic


IPTV Global Architecture

Super Hub Office

Video Hub Office

Serving Offices

What are the Access Bandwidth Needs?

Drivers of Bandwidth Requirements

Bandwidth Requirements — 2012 Scenario

Traffic Forecasts

Total Network Traffic — No IPTV

Total Traffic Forecast — Including IPTV

Growth of the Internet

Appendix I: Traffic Statistics Relationships

Appendix II: Data Traffic Fundamentals

Internet Traffic Calculations

Bits and Bytes

Transfer Rate

Busy Hour Traffic

Protocol Efficiencies

Statistical Multiplexing


Summary of Concepts

Table of Figures

Fig.01: Lightwave Network
Fig. 02: Premise for Forecasting Traffic on the Internet
Fig. 03: Internet Traffic Formula
Fig. 04: Total Traffic Compared to IPTV
Fig. 05: Data Traffic from Major Sources — No IPTV
Fig. 06: Comparison of Four Major Sources to Total Traffic — No IPTV
Fig. 07: New High-speed Access Forecast
Fig. 08: High-speed Lines Forecasts — All Types
Fig. 09: High-speed Access Household Penetration Rate — New Forecast
Fig. 10: BH High-speed per Line Usage — Old Forecast
Fig. 11: New Forecast for Per-line Traffic
Fig. 12: Components of New Forecast for per Line Usage in BH
Fig. 13: Components of the Total per-line BH Traffic Estimates
Fig. 14: Changes in per-line BH Usage Components
Fig. 15: File Sharing Component Decomposition
Fig. 16: File Sharing Components — 2006
Fig. 17: File Sharing Components in 2010
Fig. 18: File Sharing Components Change Over Time
Fig. 19: Internet Traffic Formula
Fig. 20: Forecast for Internet Traffic from High-speed Accesses
Fig. 21: Dialup Lines Forecast
Fig. 22: Dialup Traffic Forecast
Fig. 23: High-speed vs. Dialup Traffic
Fig. 24: Ratio of High-speed Traffic to AAA per Line Traffic
Fig. 25: AAA Line Forecast
Fig. 26: AAA Traffic
Fig. 27: Mobile Traffic
Fig. 28: Lightwave Network
Fig. 29: Network Location — Internet Traffic
Fig. 30: Internet Total Traffic Forecast
Fig. 31: Internet Traffic Change over Time
Fig. 32: Network Location of International Traffic
Fig. 33: International Traffic
Fig. 34: Location of VoIP Traffic
Fig. 35: VoIP Traffic
Fig. 36: Location of Other Network Traffic
Fig. 37: Other Data Networks
Fig. 38: Location of Private Line Traffic
Fig. 39: Private Line Networks
Fig. 40: Location of Voice Traffic
Fig. 41: Voice Traffic
Fig. 42: IPTV Global Architecture
Fig. 43: Drivers of Access Bandwidth Requirements
Fig. 44: Usage Scenario — 2012
Fig. 45: 2012 Bandwidth Requirements
Fig. 46: Forecast Access Bandwidth Requirements 2012
Fig. 47: Comparison of Internet Access Speed Offered
Fig. 48: Total Traffic Forecast — No IPTV
Fig. 49: Growth Rate — All Traffic — No IPTV
Fig. 50: Total Traffic Forecast — Including IPTV
Fig. 51: Backbone Growth Rates — Including IPTV
Fig. 52: All Traffic Components — Including IPTV
Fig. 53: Total Traffic Forecast and Growth Rate — Including IPTV
Fig. 54: Internet Components Forecast
Fig. 55: Internet Growth Rate — New Forecast
Fig. 56: Traffic/Speed Relationships
Fig. 57: Example of Various Traffic Sizes
Fig. 58: Multiples of ByteFig. 59: New Transfer Rate Forecast
Fig. 60: Summary of Concepts

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