Smartphones, tablets, mobile video and increasingly quick networks are growing mobile Internet traffic to incredible levels, according to a recent Cisco report. It's time to learn what a quadrillion is.
Internet data traffic is increasing at a rate that tests a mere mortal's math
prowess. With increases in streaming content, growing connections from mobile
device and machine-to-machine (M2M) modules and powerful mobile devices leading
the way, Cisco Systems reports in a new Visual Networking Index Forecast that
worldwide mobile data traffic is expected to increase eighteenfold over the
next five years, reaching an annual run rate of 130 exabytes by 2016.
equals 1 quintillion bytes. A quintillion is 10 to 18th power; it has 18
zeroes, compared with a trillion, which has 12. To get your brain around these
numbers, this mobile data traffic is the equivalent of 33 billion DVDs, 4.3
quadrillion (that would be 10 to the 15th power) MP3 files or 813 quadrillion Short
Message Service texts.
So, really a lot of traffic, then.
The number of
connected mobile devices is expected to exceed the number of people on Earth by
201610 billion devices to 7.3 billion folks, according to the Feb. 14 report.
Additionally, mobile cloud traffic, which currently accounts for 45 percent of
mobile data traffic, is expected to grow 28 fold by 2016, accounting for a 71
percent share of traffic.
use of smartphones and tablets, faster networks and video-rich applications is
also increasingly making traffic generators of us all.
By 2016, 60
percent of mobile users3 billion people worldwidewill belong to the 'Gigabyte
Club,' each generating more than 1GB of mobile data traffic per month,"
Suraj Shetty, Cisco's vice president of product and solutions marketing, wrote
in the report. "By contrast, in 2011, only one-half percent of mobile
¢ The amount
of traffic added to the mobile Internet between 2015 and 2016 will be three
times the estimated size of the entire mobile Internet in 2012.
devices and nodes will be the primary contributors to traffic. By 2016, there
will be more than 8 billion handheld or personal mobile devices and nearly 2
billion M2M connections, including in-car GPS systems, asset-tracking systems
and medical applications.
¢ By 2016,
approximately 90 percent of mobile data traffic will be driven by smartphones,
laptops and other portable devices.
¢ By 2016, 5
percent of mobile data traffic will be driven by M2M traffic. Another 5 percent
will be driven by residential broadband mobile gateways.
¢ By 2016, 71
percent of mobile data traffic will be mobile video.
alone will generate traffic that will grow by a factor of 62 by 2016,
representing the highest growth rate of any device in the forecast.
supporting so much traffic, said the report, will be offloading traffic to
fixed/WiFi networkssomething that was done with 11 percent of traffic in 2011;
in itself, fixed/WiFi traffic was more than 18 times greater than cellular
traffic. By 2016, 22 percent is expected to be downloaded to fixed/WiFi
increases in traffic are also expected to drive connection speeds, as they have
already; the average mobile connection speed doubled in 2011, and by 2016, it's
expected to increase ninefold. Excellent news. And the average smartphone
connection speed? In 2011 it was 1,344K bps. In 2012 that's expected to rise to
1,829K bps, and in 2016 to a very quick 5,244K bps.
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.