IP video will account for 80 percent of all IP traffic by 2019, up from 67 percent in 2014, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index. With the caveat that IP traffic is not 100 percent of data traffic, the fact remains that IP networks will, by virtue of traffic volume, become content access networks.
That is not to deny the importance of communications functions, or the value of those functions. Still, to the extent that every network is optimized for the types of traffic each network must carry, it increasingly is going to make sense to architect IP networks as content access networks.
Precisely what form that will take is not yet decided. Already, though, cloud computing increasingly underpins network architectures, since the content increasingly is housed at a relatively small number of global data center sites.
Some already argue that storage will have to shift to the edges of the network, to a large extent. And there might eventually be much greater reliance on techniques similar to that used by BitTorrent, namely peer-to-peer distribution of content.