Data traffic from exploding mobile use will increase eight-fold over the next five years, according to a report released Wednesday by Cisco. The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2015 to 2020) says that 70 percent of the world’s population, or 5.5 billion people, will be mobile users by 2020.
There are now four times as many mobile users as in 2000, when the first camera phone was introduced, according to Cisco. More users, more devices, 4G networks, and particularly mobile video are now driving an even greater surge in data. By 2020, video will make up three-quarters of mobile data traffic and 4G connectivity share is projected to surpass 3G.
“With the ever-increasing billions of people and things that are being connected, mobility is the predominant medium that’s enabling today’s global digitization transformation,” said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing, Cisco. “Future mobile innovations in cellular, such as 5G, and Wi-Fi solutions will be needed to further address new scale requirements, security concerns, and user demands. IoT advancements will continue to fuel tangible benefits for people, businesses, and societies.”
IPv6 traffic made up only 13 percent of mobile traffic in 2015, but will reach 54 percent by 2020 as the number of IPv6-capable devices rises from 36 percent to 66 percent. Machine-to-machine connections, wearable devices, and voice-over-Wi-Fi are all expected to contribute to the traffic growth as well.
While the forecast sees data traffic increases in all regions, there is a significant geographic spread in expected growth rates. North America and Western Europe data traffic are expected to grow by six times, while the Middle East and Africa are expected to generate fifteen times as much data traffic in five years.
Cisco also predicts connection speeds to increase from 2 Mbps to 6.5 Mbps by 2020, with the average user taking advantage to transfer 3.3 GB per month, up from just under half a gig in 2015.