Internet video and peer-to-peer applications could cause IP traffic to double every two years, according to predictions out from Cisco this week.

Video will drive a 21 percent compound annual growth rate in business IP traffic across WANs from 2006 to 2011, according to Cisco.

That and consumer traffic, which will surpass business IP traffic in 2008, will cause overall IP traffic to almost double every two years through 2011, the Cisco report finds. Total IP traffic will nearly quintuple between 2006 and 2011, driven by high definition video and broadband penetration, Cisco said.

Cisco's report is based on its own estimates plus projections from 10 market analysis firms on the number of Internet users, broadband connections, video subscribers, mobile connections, and Internet application adoption.

On the business side, Cisco found that business IP traffic - all fixed IP WAN or Internet traffic generated by organisations - will grow fastest in developing markets and Asia-Pacific. North America, Western Europe and Japan will have slower growth rates.

In volume, North America will continue to have the most business IP traffic through 2011, followed by Western Europe and then Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, business traffic - all IP traffic that crosses an Internet backbone - will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23 percent from 2006 to 2011, driven by increased broadband penetration in small businesses.

Overshadowing that will be consumer IP traffic, which will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 58 percent from 2006 to 2011. Consumer IP traffic will surpass 17 exabytes per month by 2011, the Cisco study found. Business IP traffic at that time will be 10 exabytes.

Forty percent of consumer IP traffic will be Internet traffic, while 60 percent will be traffic generated by the delivery of traditional commercial video services over IP within a single operator's network, according to Cisco. This is a "dramatic" shift from the composition of 2005 consumer IP traffic, over 80 percent of which is Internet traffic, the Cisco report states.

Internet traffic is still dominated by peer-to-peer (P2P) applications and this trend is not slowing, the Cisco report found. P2P traffic will more than quadruple from 649 petabytes per month in 2006 to 2,836 petabytes per month in 2011.

P2P made up 50 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2006, but despite quadrupling in size, will only make up 39 percent of consumer Internet traffic in 2011, the study found.

Video streaming and downloads are beginning to take a larger share of bandwidth, and will grow from 9 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2006 to 30 percent in 2011.

Internet traffic is growing fastest in developing markets, followed closely by Asia-Pacific.

Internet video-to-TV will increase by more than a factor of 10 from 2007 to 2011.

Internet video-to-PC will increase by a factor of four. Internet video-to-TV will exceed Internet video-to-PC by 2009, the Cisco study forecasts.

In wireless, combined traffic from 3.5G and WiMAX networks will make up over half of all mobile data traffic by 2011, driven largely by portable computers with HSDPA and WiMAX cards.

Geographically, Japan is currently leading the charge, generating nearly 50 percent more mobile data traffic than any other region. The rest of Asia-Pacific, however, will surpass Japan by 2011, the Cisco study found.