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Visualizing Global Mobile Data Traffic Growth

Networks are an essential part of business, education, government, and home communications. Many residential, business, and mobile IP networking trends are being driven largely by a combination of video, social networking and advanced online collaboration applications — when described together, it’s called “visual networking.”

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) is the company’s ongoing effort to forecast and analyze the growth and use of IP networks worldwide. Earlier this month, we announced the latest report, the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2010-2015. The following is a thought-provoking summary of the key findings — see how we visualize the future of the Mobile Internet.

Please feel free to include this Cisco VNI animation video in your own blog posts.

Cisco VNI Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Highlights

  • Global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015. Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 92 percent from 2010 to 2015, reaching 6.3 exabytes per month by 2015.
  • There will be nearly one mobile device per capita by 2015. There will be over 7.1 billion mobile-connected devices, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules, in 2015-approximately equal to the world’s population in 2015 (7.2 billion).
  • Mobile network connection speeds will increase 10-fold by 2015. The average mobile network connection speed (215 kbps in 2010) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 60 percent, and will exceed 2.2 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2015.
  • Two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2015. Mobile video will more than double every year between 2010 and 2015. Mobile video has the highest growth rate of any application category measured within the Cisco VNI forecast at this time.

Cisco Visual Networking Index Methodology

Perhaps you’re wondering, how does Cisco gather the information to produce these growth projections? The Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast relies in part upon data published from a variety of independent analysts sources.

The Cisco VNI methodology begins with the number and growth of connections and devices, applies adoption rates for applications, and then multiplies the application’s user base by Cisco’s estimated minutes of use and KB per minute for that application. The methodology has evolved to link assumptions more closely with fundamental drivers, to use data sources unique to Cisco, and to provide a high degree of application, segment, geographic, and device specificity.

The Cisco VNI Usage program serves as key validation point for our forecast research. In this cooperative program, more than 20 of our global service provider customers voluntarily share anonymous, aggregate data with Cisco to mutually analyze current network usage trends and gauge future infrastructure requirements.

Participating service providers serve millions of subscribers around the world. They represent the mobile, wired network, and cable segments throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific theatre and various emerging markets.

The Cisco VNI Forecast approach provides a comprehensive categorization of traffic types and their respective growth rates (for example, Internet, managed IP, and mobile data), while Cisco VNI Usage results represent “real- world” insight into current global traffic patterns and trends based on aggregate service provider network data.

In general, Cisco found that VNI Usage data aligns closely with the company’s previously published forecast data for the same period and suggests IP network and Internet growth trajectories that are consistent with the company’s longer-term estimates.

What Does the Cisco VNI Mobile Data Projections Mean for You?

For mobile consumers and business users, mobile data is well on its way to becoming a necessity (not just a preference). Mobile voice service is already considered a “must have” by many, and mobile data, video, and TV services are fast becoming an essential part of consumers’ lives. Used extensively by consumer as well the business segments, and seeing impressive uptakes in both developed and emerging markets, mobility has proven to be transformational force (e.g., e-commerce, telemedicine, education, etc.). Over the next five years, mobile users will have their choice of more and more powerful devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets, et al.) and they’ll have faster mobile networks to support their needs

For Mobile operators, deploying next-generation mobile networks will require greater service portability and interoperability. With the proliferation of mobile and portable devices, there is an imminent need for highly scalable networks to allow all these devices to be connected transparently, with the network providing high-performance computing capabilities and delivering enhanced real time video and multimedia. This openness will broaden the range of applications and services that can be shared, creating a highly enhanced mobile broadband experience. Mobile operators can create their own custom high-level traffic forecasts with the Cisco M-SPAN Tool.

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