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February 09, 2015

Report: Cisco Predicts 97 Percent Rise in Mobile Traffic by 2019

By Casey Houser, Contributing Writer

It will likely come as no surprise to seasoned readers of TMC (News - Alert) that the global data traffic is set to skyrocket from here through the end of the decade. Nevertheless, Cisco recently reported that, during the span of 2014 to 2019, it expects “smart” mobile traffic to rise 97 percent from its levels last year. Expected or not, that figure can leave an impression.

What were those levels? Cisco (News - Alert) shows in its latest Visual Networking Index report that “smart” traffic, such as advanced computing and multimedia traveling across connections no slower than 3G, constituted 88 percent of all global mobile traffic. This will occur, the networking giant says, because of the proliferation of consumer mobile devices that dwarf competitors from previous generations, the increased deployment of machine-to-machine connections, and the creation of the so-called Internet of Everything.

Doug Webster, the vice president of service provider products and solutions marketing at Cisco, spoke to that idea.

“The ongoing adoption of more powerful mobile devices and wider deployments of emerging M2M applications, combined with broader access to faster wireless networks, will be key contributors to significant mobile traffic growth in the coming years,” Webster said. “This mobile-centric environment will give service providers a new landscape of challenges and opportunities to innovatively deliver a variety of mobile services and experiences to consumers and business users as the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to take shape.”

Along the way to that expected rise in “smart” traffic, Cisco says 3G will surpass 2G as the top cellular technology, as defined by the number of connection shares, and data traffic will reach an annual run rate in 2019 of 292 exabytes. That number is so big that, in Cisco's announcement, it has to specifically explain that an exabyte is “equal to one quintillion bytes or one billion gigabytes.”

What that measure represents is 292 times more fixed and mobile IP traffic that was generated in 2000. More mobile users, more mobile connections, faster mobile speeds, and more mobile video are the direct drivers of this surge in traffic. The number of mobile users is expected to rise to 5.2 billion in 2019, up from 4.3 billion in 2014, and the number of mobile connections is expected to rise to 8.3 billion mobile-ready devices and 3.2 billion M2M connections -- up from a combined 7.4 mobile-ready and M2M connections in 2014.

We are entering an era where the number of connections will shadow anything anyone has ever seen. Growth of the number of wearable devices, 4G connectivity, devices that support Wi-Fi connectivity, voice-over-Wi-Fi and voice-over-LTE (News - Alert), and mobile cloud traffic will jump significantly. Providers of those devices and services will need to be ready because, even if the devices were in the hands of end users, the infrastructure will need to cope with their demand to make this growth a sustainable reality.

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