Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Predicts Eighteenfold Increase By 2016

It's time to learn what a quadrillion is. Smartphones, tablets, mobile video and increasingly quick wireless networks are growing mobile Internet traffic to incredible levels, according to a recent Cisco report.

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.

An exabyte equals 1 quintillion bytes. A quintillion is 10 to 18th power; it has 18 zeroes, compared with a trillion, which has 12. 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.

The number of connected mobile devices is expected to exceed the number of people on Earth by 2016 10 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.

The increased use of smartphones and tablets, faster networks and video-rich applications is also increasingly making traffic generators of us all.

This article was originally published on 02-16-2012
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