Cisco Systems Inc. predicts worldwide data traffic will grow 26 fold in the next five years, driven by mobile video, which is expected to account for 66% of all mobile traffic by 2015, and even more surprising, is expected to account for about 50% of all mobile traffic this year.
Cisco’s Visual Networking Index is a commonly accepted metric for wireless operators and companies and was seen in 2010 in a huge number of presentations at industry events. Cisco has been working on the VNI for about six years, said Thomas Barnett Jr., senior manager, service provider marketing, at Cisco. The company uses a variety of analysis and end user information, including 390,000 smart-phone users via a free application, to cull its estimates.
In 2015, the United Nations estimates about 7.2 billion people will be on planet Earth. About 7.1 billion wireless connections will exist on planet earth that same year, Barnett said. Of those connections, 5.6 billion will be human connections and about 1.5 billion connections will be machine to machine, the company said.
Along with the proliferation of devices, enhanced computing will drive mobile connectivity for the next five years. Mobile gaming consoles and tablets will drive this sector. In fact, Cisco thinks mobile gaming consoles could be a wild card going into the next few years, much like tablets have taken the industry by storm. “Last year, tablets were not even a category we tracked,” Barnett said. Tablets are the fastest-growing device segment, increasing about 205fold by 2015.
Faster network speeds and rich media applications also will drive mobile broadband growth. The company expects a 10-fold increase in speeds by 2015, noting speeds doubled between 2009 and 2010, Barnett said.
Global mobile traffic will increase about 92% compounded annual growth rate, with a run rate of 75 Exabytes per year by 2015. What is 75 Exabytes? About 19 billion DVDs. Nevertheless, only about 8% of all Internet traffic will come from the mobile space by 2015. Mobile accounts for about 1% of all IP traffic today, Cisco noted.
Consumers will account for the vast majority of mobile data traffic, approaching nearly 80% market share, while businesses will account for just over 21%, said Barnett. Noting there is obvious crossover between the two categories, Cisco differentiates business users from consumer users depending on who pays the bill.
“Today, the average mobile connection generates 65 megabytes of traffic per month, equivalent to about 15 MP3 music files,” Cisco said. “By 2015, the average mobile connection is anticipated to generate more than 17 times that amount, to a total of 1,118 megabytes of traffic per month, equivalent to about 260 MP3 music files.”