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Announcing the Cisco Visual Networking Index Mobile Forecast, 2010-2015

February 1, 2011 - 0 Comments

26X.  That’s the amount of increase in traffic the global mobile internet is going to have over a 5 year span from 2010 to 2015, as forecast by the latest iteration of the Cisco Visual Networking Index released today. 

VNI Global Mobile Data Forecast Growth

As many of you long time readers know there are few things that get me as excited as this data because:

  1. While we read about point announcements here or new services there, this gives context to us all and allows us to look at the “forest” vs. just the “trees”.
  2. Our customers really, really (is it overdoing it to say “really” again) like this data, which gives us an opportunity to showcase just one of the ways that we strive to be not just a vendor but a partner to them, and it’s always great to spend more time with them.
  3. The data is the result of a great team that I am proud to be a part of as well as data feeds from not just third party industry analysts whose forecasts we incorporate, but also that of contributions of over 390,000 people worldwide feeding us their unique, primary data about their network experience directly from their devices.
  4. I think big numbers are simply cool.

And big numbers these indeed are.  A twenty-six fold increase traffic is staggering, with the global loads increasing from 0.24 exabytes a month in 2010 (an exabyte is a 10 to the 18th power bytes…or a billion gigabytes…not to mention, a fun word to say in its own right) to 6.3 exabytes per month in 2015.  On an annual basis, 6.3 exabytes is 75 exabytes a year, which is equivalent to 75 times more traffic all the global mobile and fixed IP traffic in 2000 when anything and everything possible was going on the internet. 

75 exabytes is equal to...

75 exabytes is also the equivalent of 536 quadrillion SMS text messages – but it’s not going to be driven by text, though my teenage son Cole with his text mastery may dispute me.  Rather, video is going to be the main driver.  In 2011, we forecast that video will pass the tipping point and be responsible for more than 50% of the global mobile IP traffic…in 2015, it will be 66%.  Seem far fetched?  Let’s look at the underlying trends:

  • More devices – we forecast by 2015, there will be 5.6 billion personal devices on the mobile internet, plus more than 1.5 billion machine-to-machine connections.  Think about your own household.  Any new devices connected to the mobile internet?  We had 3…and it’s not even getting to our birthday season yet.  And all of them featured a lot of screen space just calling out more use of rich media and video. (the bigger the screen size, the higher the resolution of video needed, and the more bandwidth consumed)
  • Enhanced computing – those newer devices are also packing some punch.  Whether it’s smartphones or tablets (the fastest growing device type in our forecast), they are increasingly getting stronger chipsets which make them able to do more, such as running multiple bandwidth consuming applications at once.
  • Faster mobile speeds – the mobile network is getting faster and faster (worldwide it more than doubled last year and we forecast it will increase another ten-fold in the next 5 years) and, as history has proven, the faster the network, the more we can do with it…the more we do with it. My sister and brother in-law have fully gone down the path of mobile broadband substitution.  With their 4G service, watching a show on their TV connected to their laptop is a breeze.  With a smoking fast mobile connection, why wouldn’t we use more video? 

VNI Global Mobile Data Forecast Contribution of Video

Video is becoming a part of nearly every network experience – from communications to business collaboration to entertainment – and the same trend that is being seen on fixed networks will, in our estimation, take place on the mobile ones too.  Only on fast forward…since we estimate the mobile network will grow 3.3 times faster than its fixed counterpart over the next half decade.

There is lots of great data in the forecast and I will blog further about it in the weeks to come.  In the interim, though, I encourage you check it out at .  We’ll also be back in June, as per our tradition, with the complete VNI forecast which will introduce and combine the fixed forecast into this data as well.

Until then, I hope you enjoy diving into this data even just a fraction as much as I do, and thanks, as always, for following us on SP360!

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