Mobile data traffic dwarfed by fixed network data traffic


Data now represents more than half of all U.S. mobile network traffic, but mobile data is still just a drop in the bucket of overall data traffic. The average American consumes about 23 GB of data monthly on fixed networks, versus 0.75 GB of mobile data, according to a new report from Analysys Mason.

Despite the spiraling mobile data demand in this country, the U.S. actually ranks lower than several nations when mobile data traffic is evaluated as a percent of overall data traffic. U.S. mobile data consumption represents less than 3% of total data consumption. That percent is higher for the Nordic countries, Australia, Hong Kong, and for Japan, the only country where mobile data represents more than 10% of total data traffic.

Analysys Mason projects that by 2019, the average fixed broadband connection will generate more than 3 times the traffic it generates today. Mobile data is expected to grow from 3% of global data traffic to roughly 6%.

Of course a great deal of network traffic involves both fixed and mobile networks. Fiber and cable provide backhaul for mobile data traffic, and extend cellular networks through distributed antenna systems in large indoor venues. Wi-Fi routers also rely on fixed networks.

Cisco’s closely-watched VNI forecast distinguishes fixed wired connections from fixed Wi-Fi connections. Cisco expects the percent of global data traffic handled by fixed wired networks to decline significantly over the next three years, with mobile networks and Wi-Fi both handling a greater percentage of traffic. Cisco’s VNI projects that by 2017 Wi-Fi will account for 48% of the global IP traffic and cellular for 10%.

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR