5 October 2023

Is your business prepared to cope with surging data traffic?

The volume of data generated across the world continues to grow at an astonishing rate.

IDC expects the Global DataSphere – which is a measure of how much new data is created, captured, replicated, and consumed each year – to more than double in size from 2022 to 2026. And the expansion of data creation is particularly rapid for businesses.

The Enterprise DataSphere will grow more than twice as fast as the Consumer DataSphere over the next five years, putting even more pressure on enterprise organizations to manage and protect the world's data while creating opportunities to activate data for business and societal benefits.”
John Rydning, research vice president, IDC's Global DataSphere

Of course all this data isn’t static. To serve its purpose it needs to flow between businesses, applications, and devices. So, is your business prepared to cope with this surging data traffic?

Rapid expansion of enterprise applications

One of the major factors impacting increased enterprise data traffic flows is the adoption of new technologies. No one can say for sure how many applications the average business uses, and the basis for calculations varies widely.

  • Statista reports that organizations worldwide were using an average of 130 SaaS applications in 2022, a significant rise from an average of just eight in 2015.
  • A Mulesoft study suggests that the average enterprise organization uses a staggering 976 individual applications, up from 843 in 2021.
  • Device telemetry data from Absolute indicates there are 67 applications installed on the average enterprise device, with 10% having more than 100 applications installed.

We could quote figures all day, but the underlying message is clear. Enterprise use of applications is high and increasing rapidly. And that means more data on the move. 

Increased traffic drives demand for bandwidth 

Surging enterprise data traffic is driving increased demand for network capacity, or bandwidth.

According to Telegeography’s annual State of the Network report, Internet traffic increased at a compound annual rate of 30% between 2018 and 2022. And we’ve seen this first-hand, with data throughput at peak times also increasing by almost 30% at our Internet Exchange in Frankfurt since the start of 2022.

This trend seems likely to continue, fueled by the adoption of IoT devices, increasing broadband penetration in developing markets, and the adoption of increasingly bandwidth-intensive enterprise applications.

This growth in traffic is largely mirrored by the increase in actual global Internet bandwidth which rose 28% in 2022, and has nearly tripled since 2018, meaning it currently stands at 997 Terabites per second (Tbps), according to the Telegeography report. But this expansion in capacity still isn’t keeping pace with demand, which the same report indicates is nearly doubling every two years, meaning transit routes are getting more congested. 

Why your business needs sufficient bandwidth 

Having the right bandwidth, and a robust infrastructure capable of absorbing additional traffic, gives businesses control over routing and prevents critical data being sent via congested transit routes. Without it the performance of enterprise systems will suffer, resulting in a poor end user experience and potential business disruption. 

Bandwidth requirements vary considerably between businesses – depending on how data intensive their processes are. But all businesses should be looking for scalable bandwidth that can expand to meet their continually changing needs. 

As a rough guide, the EU commission’s goal is for all residential properties to have access to connections of at least one gigabit per second (Gbps) by 2030. If this is the benchmark for households, businesses should be aiming far higher. Our general ballpark bandwidth recommendations for different types of location are currently as follows:

  • Residential standard: 1 Gbps
  • Business with power users: 10 Gbps (redundant)
  • Business with HQ or high availability: 4 x 10 Gbps
  • Datacenter standard: 6 x 10 Gbps
  • Datacenter high end: 4 x 100 Gbps

Interconnection platforms future proof your business

An interconnection platform, such as an Internet Exchange or a Cloud Exchange, is the simplest way to ensure your business has the bandwidth it needs, both now and in the future.

Internet Exchanges facilitate data movement from one network to another on a cost-neutral basis – a process known as ‘peering’. These interconnection platforms are incredibly beneficial to businesses that want to control the routing of their data traffic.

The Telegeography report mentioned earlier suggests that there is already a major shift from 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) requirements to 100 GE requirements, and that 400 GE requirements are expected to emerge in the next two to three years. Well, Internet Exchanges are ahead of the game and many already enable 400 GE, while others are equipping for the future era of 800 GE

Networks connect to Internet Exchanges with access ports sizes, which are frequently large enough to transmit 400 Gigabits per second. This provides massive throughput to other networks.

This level of peering bandwidth potential empowers businesses to deal with the inevitable rise in data volumes as they adopt new bandwidth-intensive applications. It puts them in control of points of interconnection and delivers almost unlimited possible throughput to other networks. Of course it also lowers latency, but that’s a subject for another day.

Building resilience for ongoing digital transformation

Capacity is just one of the elements businesses need to consider when they’re improving network infrastructure and increasing connectivity resilience to cope with ongoing digital transformation. They will also need to factor in things like latency, reliability, security, and cost efficiency. 

Check out our guide Building connectivity for the world of tomorrow to learn more about how an interconnection platform enables all the elements you need to transform your digital infrastructure and support your business long into the future.