Video drives net traffic to zettabyte high

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Image caption The World Cup will generate about 4.3 exabytes of data traffic, estimates Cisco

A million minutes of video will cross the net every second in 2018, a study suggests.

Compiled by hardware maker Cisco, it estimates global net traffic will triple within five years to a total of 131 exabytes of data per month.

More people watching higher quality video would drive the huge increase, it said in its annual data report.

About 79% of all data in 2018 would be video compared with only 66% at the end of 2013, it said.

It would take an individual about five million years to watch the vast amount of video clips, films, and documentaries crossing global networks every month in 2018, Cisco said in its report.

One exabyte is equal to nearly 1.1 billion gigabytes and represents a vast amount of information. By way of comparison, a study carried out by the University of California, Berkeley estimates that all the words ever spoken by humans amount to about five exabytes of information.

The huge amount of data being seen and sent means that for the first time the annual total of data travelling over the net will exceed one zettabyte, according to Cisco.

"Today, we are firmly in the zettabyte era and witnessing incredible innovations and shifts in the industry," said Doug Webster, a spokesman for Cisco, in a statement.

By 2018, more than half of all the data would go to mobile devices connected wirelessly, said Cisco. At the end of 2013 about 56% of data travelled through fixed connections but this would drop to 39% by 2018 with the rest going to mobile gadgets such as smartphones and tablets.

Increasing mobility, greater use of ultra-high-definition video, and the rise of the "internet of things" would all contribute to rising data volumes, it added

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