By Roland Klemann, Director of Service Provider Practice, Western Europe, Internet Business Solutions Group
Although the coaxial cable may have been born in 1929, predictions of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
While traditional models for consuming television are indeed under siege—from time-shift TV, over-the-top video, and an ever-expanding array of new devices—cable remains highly relevant, even in an age of exploding data traffic. In fact, with savvy deployment of Wi-Fi services, cable providers can seize an opportunity—not in spite of the mobile data deluge, but because of it.
After all, that sleek new iPad—introduced last week while I was attending the Cable Congress in Brussels—boasts dazzling video resolution. But for network operators, it only adds to a growing problem. They are already reeling under the burden of a massive upsurge in traffic, from tablets and IP-enabled devices of all kinds. What’s worse, they are still at the low end of an ongoing mobile data explosion. Cisco’s Virtual Networking Index predicts an eighteen-fold increase in mobile traffic from 2011 to 2016.
As a result, two things are breaking down: 1) the physical capacity of the networks, and 2) their economics. Theoretically, mobile carriers can build enough macro cells to carry all the traffic in the world, but in reality, that gets prohibitively expensive—fast. No wonder some are feeling an encroaching sense of doom.
Over the past several years, Cisco introduced and has regularly updated and expanded its well-received Visual Networking Index (VNI), which projects IP traffic trends based upon independent analyst forecasts, mobile data usage surveys from operators and other primary research.
As part of its VNI initiative, Cisco also developed the Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, and the most recent update has just been issued.
The updated forecast includes findings such as:
By 2016, global mobile data traffic will reach 10.8 exabytes per month (or 130 exabytes annually). Global mobile data traffic will increase 18X from 2011 -- 2016 (78% CAGR from 2011 -- 2016). The 130 exabytes is 4.5 times more than all IP traffic (fixed and mobile) generated in 2005 (29 exabytes).
Based on Cisco VNI research, global mobile data traffic increased 133% from calendar year-end 2010 to calendar year-end 2011 (CY2011 = 597 petabytes per month or nearly 149 million DVDs per month).
In 2011, global mobile data traffic grew 3.4 times faster than global fixed broadband data traffic. From 2011 to 2016, global mobile data traffic will grow 3 times faster than global fixed broadband data traffic.
Other pertinent points include:
In spite of uncertain economic conditions in many parts of the world, the demand for mobile services and content has in fact grown in every global region.
An increased amount of mobile traffic being offloaded to fixed networks, and the implementation of tiered mobile service pricing and data caps have not had a significant dampening effect on global mobile data traffic growth (the top 1% has been throttled to some degree).
In 2011, global mobile data traffic more than doubled (2.3X growth) for the fourth year in a row.
Following are links to relevant documents and information:
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.
A year ago, the Cisco VNI Mobile Data Traffic study predicted that global mobile data traffic would reach 3.6 exabytes by 2014 . . . and we thought that was fast.
Findings from the recently updated Cisco Mobile VNI include:
The annual global mobile data traffic will reach 6.3 exabytes per month, or an annual run rate of 75 exabytes, by 2015. That amount is the equivalent of 19 billion DVDs or 536 quadrillion SMS text messages or 75 times the amount of global Internet Protocol traffic (fixed and mobile) generated in the year 2000.
Global mobile data traffic increased 159 percent from calendar year 2009 to calendar year 2010 to 237 petabytes per month, or the equivalent of 60 million DVDs.
Global mobile data traffic grew 4.2 times as fast as global fixed broadband data traffic in 2010.
Global mobile data traffic in 2010 was three times the size of all global Internet traffic (fixed and mobile) in the year 2000.
According to the updated forecast, the Middle East and Africa will have the highest regional mobile data traffic growth rates, with a compound annual growth rate of 129 percent (63-fold growth) over the period. Latin America anticipates a 111 percent CAGR (42-fold growth), followed by Central and Eastern Europe, with a 102 percent CAGR (34-fold growth), and Asia-Pacific, with a 101 percent CAGR (33-fold growth). Western Europe is forecast to experience a 91 percent CAGR (25-fold growth); North America, an 83 percent CAGR (20-fold growth); and Japan, a 70 percent CAGR (14-fold growth).
India has the highest national mobile data traffic growth rate, with a CAGR of 158 percent (115-fold growth) for the forecast period, followed by South Africa, with a 144 percent CAGR (87-fold growth), and Mexico, with a 131 percent CAGR (66-fold growth). Comparatively, the United Kingdom will see an 84 percent CAGR (21-fold growth), and the U.S. an 83 percent CAGR (21-fold growth), according to the updated forecast.
In spite of the slow economic recovery in many regions, the demand for mobile services has remained constant, overall, and strong traffic growth continues globally.