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Mobile Data Traffic to Double by 2019, Juniper Research Says

Devices like smartphones and tablets will generate almost 197,000 petabytes of traffic over the next four years, equaling 10 billion Blu-ray movies.

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Mobile data traffic generated by devices like smartphones, tablets and feature phones will hit almost 197,000 petabytes by 2019, which is equal to more than 10 billion Blu-ray movies, according to analysts at Juniper Research.

In a report released May 19, the analysts said they expect the average amount of data traffic generated by smartphone and tablets users will double between 2015 and 2019, and that the growing adoption of 4G networks and the use of HD video will drive the increasing consumption of bandwidth-demanding media consumption by mobile device users. For example, they expect video traffic over smartphones will grow nearly eight times over the next four years.

"Certainly, video is forming an ever-greater proportion of network traffic," research author Nitin Bhas said in a statement.

The numbers from Juniper Research reflect what others are seeing in the mobile space. In February, officials with Cisco Systems in their annual Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast said that by 2019, 5.2 billion people worldwide will be using mobile devices and there will be 11.5 billion mobile connections, both of which will fuel a tenfold jump in global mobile data traffic. The devices will be more powerful, the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will increase, and the rise of both 3G and 4G networks also will contribute, they said.

By 2019, mobile traffic will hit 292 exabytes (292,000 petabytes), according to Cisco.

The Juniper analysts also talked about the growing role that WiFi will have in moving all this mobile traffic. Broadband carriers, which are under increasing pressure to improve speed and bandwidth in their networks, are increasingly turning to WiFi networks to offload some of the traffic and relieve the burden on the cellular networks.

According to their numbers, the analysts expect that by 2019, only 41 percent of the data generated by the mobile devices will be carried over cellular networks. Most of the traffic will be offloaded to WiFi networks. In addition, WiFi is not only being used for offloading data, but also for maintaining the quality of call connections in network topologies that are particularly challenging.

Juniper also predicted that M2M traffic will grow significantly between now and 2019, driven primarily by connected car infotainment systems and telematics.