Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cisco Forecast: One mobile device needs 150 kbps today, 500 kbps in 2020

Cisco updated their mobile data traffic forecast to reflect the latest projections to 2020.

One consequence of the growth of video in both fixed and mobile contexts is the resulting acceleration of busy- hour traffic in relation to average traffic growth. Video usage tends to occur during evening hours and has a “prime time,” unlike general web usage that occurs throughout the day. As a result, more video usage means more traffic during the peak hours of the day. Globally, mobile busy-hour traffic will be 88 percent higher than average-hour traffic by 2020, compared to 66 percent in 2015. Peak traffic will grow at a CAGR of 56 percent between 2015 and 2020, compared to 53 percent for average traffic (Figure 27).

Busy hour is generally what a network should be provisioned for.  The average data rate should be increased by about 2/3 today and doubled in 2020 when calculating provisioning.

The speed at which data can travel to and from a mobile device can be affected in two places: the infrastructure speed capability outside the device and the connectivity speed from the network capability inside the device (Figure 29). These speeds are actual and modeled end-user speeds and not theoretical speeds that the devices, connection, or technology is capable of providing. Several variables affect the performance of a mobile connection: rollout of 2G, 3G, and 4G in various countries and regions, technology used by the cell towers, spectrum availability, terrain, signal strength, and number of devices sharing a cell tower. The type of application the end user uses is also an important factor. Download speed, upload speed, and latency characteristics vary widely depending on the type of application, be it video, radio, or instant messaging.

Average traffic per device will grow nearly four-fold in the five year period

Taking per-device usage, I calculated the average data rate to serve one day over a two hour period.

I also took the sum of two devices (smartphone plus tablet) and three devices (smartphone plus tablet plus laptop).

Average Usage
One device needs 100 kbps growing to 250 kbps in 2020.
Two devices need 125 kbps growing to 400 kbps in 2020.
Three devices need 250 kbps growing to 600 kbps in 2020

Network provisioning should increase by about 2/3 today and double in 2020 (busy hour) to reflect a more engaged session.

One device should get 150 kbps today and 500 kbps in 2020.  
Two devices should get  200 kbps and 850 kbps in 2020.
Three devices should get 400 kbps and 1200 kbps in 2020.

Peter Lemme

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