Cisco: Video to Drive Mobile Data Explosion

The volume of data traffic on mobile networks is set to go through the roof during the next five years, with video services the main driver of that growth, according to forecasts released by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) today.

Presenting the latest findings from its Visual Networking Index forecast, which estimates the impact of "visual" applications on networks, Cisco said it expects mobile data traffic volumes to increase 66-fold between 2008 and 2013, by which time 2 exabytes of data -– that's 2 million terabytes -- will be running over mobile networks each month.

According to the forecast, monthly traffic volumes will reach about 500,000 terabytes in 2011, double by 2012, and then double again by the following year. According to the IP equipment vendor, "mobile data traffic will grow from 1 petabyte per month to 1 exabyte per month in half the time it took fixed data traffic to do so."

Uncontroversially, Cisco reckons that video will be the main contributor to this growth. "Almost 64 percent of the world’s mobile traffic will be video by 2013," predicts the vendor. Video consumption will be highest in Western Europe, where it will account for 73 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2013.

One of the key drivers of the overall data traffic growth will be the proliferation of wireless broadband-enabled laptops and "mobile broadband handsets with higher than 3G speeds. A single high-end phone like the iPhone/Blackberry generates more data traffic than 30 basic-feature cell phones," notes Cisco, while "a laptop aircard generates more data traffic than 450 basic-feature cell phones."

From a geographical perspective, Latin America will "have the strongest growth of any region at 166 percent CAGR [compound annual growth rate]," followed by Asia/Pacific at 146 percent, estimates Cisco. Overall, Asia/Pacific is forecast to account for about 33 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2013.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 4:12:06 PM
re: Cisco: Video to Drive Mobile Data Explosion I didnGÇÖt watch the webcast, but if IIRC, Cisco didnGÇÖt include laptop traffic from cellular connections in previous mobile data forecasts. Now this seems to now be included, which is fair enough.

The laptop user experience is starting to feel antiquated, though. WonGÇÖt smartphones or net books running Android or Symbian start to take over?

lrmobile_kumaramitabh 12/5/2012 | 4:12:05 PM
re: Cisco: Video to Drive Mobile Data Explosion One can intitutively expect that the video traffic will grow many fold over the next three years. Well, the report says that it will be 66 fold.Fair enough, but what type of traffic? Does it include mobile TV channels which will be multicast? If the is is counted then the growth will be probably more than 66 times. Are you watching a minute of video a day? If not, probably you will be watching more than an hour in the next 3 years and such growth in volumes is a no brainer. Is it Youtube type of traffic which is essentially unicast? Then the type of growth mentioned seems justified.
The only serious message seems to be that the volume growth will come from wireless broadband. We need to understand that a large part of viodeo flows in the next three years will move to P2P protocols which form the only feasible way of an orderly growth.

AllKindsOfThings 12/5/2012 | 4:11:52 PM
re: Cisco: Video to Drive Mobile Data Explosion If it keeps on going like it does at the moment, we will have seen growth in two orders of magnitude by end of 2013, meaning: growth of a hundred times. This considers a factor 4 volume growth of Traffic in 2008.

Also it may be notable that - like it or not - at the moment laptop traffic is responsible for most of the growth, mostly caused by USB Stick Broadband Access. Smartphones are only VERY slowly growing compared to that, and its a hot topic of debate if there is any hope to ever catch up.

The largest single type of traffic is Browsing, followed by Streaming Video at this time, NOT peer to peer and NOT file transmission. Why would the comsumer move to peer-to-peer instead of directly consuming streams when these are available?

I wonder if anyone in this market will ever expand their mobile networks to support broadcast outside of Asia.

All the best, Allkindsofthings
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