Mobile Data Traffic and M2M: Too Big, and Too Important to Let Fail

By Special Guest
Daniel Highet, Staff Writer and Contributor, Northeast DAS & Small Cell Association
August 10, 2015

In recent articles, we’ve examined how video traffic, spurred by the growing popularity of Over-the-Top (OTT) media content and non-linear viewership consumption, is overtaxing existing Internet infrastructure. According to Cisco, nearly a million minutes of video content is expected to cross the network every second by 2019, taking up 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic.

Mobile video consumption, too, is growing at an exponential rate, and its growth trajectory is projected to continue over the next five years. Globally, mobile data traffic is expected to increase 10-fold between 2014 and 2019, growing at a CAGR of 57 percent between 2014 and 2019, and reaching 24.3 exabytes per month by 2019. Moreover, global mobile data traffic, generated by smartphones, feature phones and tablets will grow three times faster than fixed IP traffic from 2014 to 2019. Global mobile data traffic was 4 percent of total IP traffic in 2014, but will spike to 14 percent of total IP traffic in the next five years. Daily media consumption by mobile users will also continue to rise, bumped by an increase in 4G adoption and HD video usage.

The Internet of Things (IoT), also referred to as the Internet of Everything - the digital grand design by which people, processes, data, and things connect to the Internet and each other, will also affect network strategies. Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections that will require greater bandwidth and lower latency range from telemedicine and smart car navigation systems, to home automation, security and video surveillance, to chips for pets and livestock.

Connected healthcare, including health monitors, medicine dispensers, and first-responder connectivity, will be the fastest growing industry segment, at 49 percent CAGR. Connected car applications will have the second fastest growth, at 37 percent CAGR, according to projections by Cisco.

There’s no doubt mobility and M2M technologies enhance and have the capability to change how we live, work, play and parallel park. They may even save lives. However, given that just about every industry observer points out there’s simply not enough bandwidth to ensure the viability of future growth, how will the supply of bandwidth capacity keep pace with demand?

One solution to the network challenge is creating a new edge of the Internet in order to serve content locally to subscribers within underserved markets, not solely from one of the eight traditional peering locations across the U.S. By localizing content in proximity to the consumers of that content, both broadband providers and content providers can reduce costs by offloading backbone traffic, improve performance related to throughput and download speeds, and improve end-user experience.

Progressive companies such as EdgeConneX – which with its Edge Data Centers is establishing new peering points within local, undeserved markets, bringing content closer to end-users – are also designing, deploying and operating small cell solutions at the edge of the network to enhance mobile connectivity. EdgeConneX Edge Wireless Solutions are created in partnership with leading mobile operators and equipment manufacturers, focusing on cellular backhaul and small cell deployments. The company collaborates with local operations and construction teams to design, build and maintain wireless networks throughout the United States and has done so for twenty years. By deploying small cells at the edge of the network, content can be available to end-users in real-time, and accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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