More Crazy Talk

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  July 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of NGN.

I’ve been a telecommunications trade publication staffer for about 20 years. After working for a couple of years as a mainstream newspaper reporter, I got my first job in telecom publishing as a copy editor (and, later, a reporter and news director) for Telephony magazine. One of my most memorable recollections about my time there was our publication of a cover story about Victor Schnee, who was then an analyst with Probe Research.

Schnee made the cover for writing what many at the time considered a controversial study. And the managing editor Karen, who today is one of my closest friends, came up with the cover headline for the story: Is This Man Crazy? 

Victor chuckled when I mentioned this during our recent interview. Karen, who left the telecom trade publishing world years ago, didn’t really remember it.

This all happened many moons ago, of course, but I think it’s worth noting, since it demonstrates how Schnee after all these years is still putting out research that goes beyond simply information gathering and actually brings analysis and intelligent forecasting to the table. In his latest effort on this front, Schnee and his colleague Al Boschulte debunk the mobile data traffic forecasts put forward this year by Cisco (News - Alert) in its Visual Networking Index and discuss what the mobile data deluge means for wireless broadband service providers and the communications space at large.

The fact that they are challenging the Cisco VNI is noteworthy given the Visual Networking Index is so widely quoted not only by Cisco and many journalists, but also by major wireless network operators like Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless, that it’s become the de facto standard for Internet traffic forecasting.

I also want to state again here that while I am leading this piece, and led this month’s cover story, with a conversation about Schnee, Al Boschulte is an equal contributor to the NPRG study discussed in these articles and is also a noted and veteran communications analyst.

Naturally, just as I was putting to bed my cover story about the NPRG report by Boschulte and Schnee, Cisco announced the findings from a new version of the Cisco VNI Forecast. As it turns out, the mobile data forecast in the new Cisco report is pretty much the same as it was in February’s VNI, which was the one the NPRG study discusses. But since we’re talking about this kind of thing, here are some of the key takeaways from the new Cisco VNI (which looks at all Internet traffic, not just mobile data).

Cisco says global mobile traffic in 2010 grew 159 percent. By 2015, a whopping 15 billion networked devices will populate our world, according to Cisco. That’s more than twice the planet’s population. The vendor goes on to project that global mobile Internet data traffic will increase 26 times from 2010 to 2015, to 6.3 exabytes per month (or 75 exabytes annually).

Internet traffic as a whole will reach 200 exabytes between 2014 and 2015 alone, which is more than all IP traffic last year and equivalent to 39 times the entire Internet in 2005, according to Cisco. TVs will contribute 15 percent-plus of the global consumer traffic by 2015, according to the VNI, while Internet video traffic will make up 28 percent of it, up from 7 percent last year.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi