Cisco Says Mobile Traffic Will Grow Eightfold by 2020
The demand for WiFi will continue to grow over the next five years. WiFi hotspots—including those in homes—will grow seven times, from 64 million in 2015 to 432 million by 2020. Carriers also will continue using WiFi to offload traffic from their overburdened cellular networks. For the first time, in 2015 monthly WiFi offload traffic—at 3.9 exabytes—outpaced mobile/cellular traffic (3.7 exabytes). By 2020, 38.1 exabytes of traffic will be offloaded to WiFi networks every month, compared with the 30.6 exabytes that will run over mobile/cellular networks. The fact that the numbers on almost everything continue to go up is no surprise, but some of the numbers themselves surprised some of the analysts working on the report. One such area was the growth of 4G connectivity. According to Cisco's numbers, by 2020, 4G connections will make up 40.5 percent of all mobile connections, a jump from 13.7 percent last year. The growth in 4G is going faster than was expected, Shruti Jain and Arielle Sumits, senior analysts at Cisco, told eWEEK. By 2017, 3G connections will bypass 2G connections, they said. However, by 2020, 4G will surpass all other connections, something that Cisco officials didn't expect to happen until a year later, Jain said. By 2020, 4G connections will account for 40.5 percent of all mobile connections; it's at 13.7 percent now. In all, 4G traffic will grow 13-fold between 2015 and 2020, with 4G connections accounting for 72 percent of all mobile data traffic in 2020. Last year, it accounted for 47 percent. By 2020, 4G connections will generate almost six times more traffic every month than non-4G connections. Driving the growth will be increasing demand from consumer and business users for higher video resolution, more bandwidth and faster processing speeds, Cisco officials said.