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Traffic over the Internet is set to double every year for the next five years, according to IDC.

The market research firm predicts the volume of Internet traffic generated by end users worldwide will nearly double annually between 2002 and 2007. This will mean an increase in traffic from 180 petabits per day in 2002 to 5,175 petabits per day by the end of 2007.

This news should be a boost for telecoms equipment suppliers such as Nortel, Cisco and Ericsson, which have suffered greatly during the tech downturn.

"Some industry observers have speculated that slowing growth in Internet traffic is at the root of the current telecom malaise, but IDC research shows that not only is Internet traffic growth strong, but it will continue at near triple digit rates over the next five years," said Sterling Perrin, senior research analyst, optical networks, IDC.

Perrin added that this surge in Internet traffic will increase demand for telecoms equipment, particularly in the optical market.

"As long as the total amount of voice and data traffic on the network continues to increase, then the need will arise for carriers to buy equipment, such as next-generation optical, that transports and manages it cheaper and more efficiently than the earlier generation of pure SONET-based products," he said.

According to IDC, the growth in the number of Internet users will continue to be an important driver of traffic, but the migration of Web surfers to broadband is even more significant.

The research firm forecasts greater adoption of high-speed Internet access by consumers globally will make broadband the fastest growing and largest segment in terms of Internet traffic volume. IDC also predicts that consumers will account for 60 per cent of all Internet traffic generated, compared to around 40 per cent for business users, by 2007. Mobile Internet users are expected to have a minimal impact only on overall traffic volume during this time. © ENN

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