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Cisco: Mobile Data Traffic Will Reach 587 Exabytes By 2021

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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Who’d have guessed that mobile data will rise massively by 2021?

Mobile will dominate the future of the Internet in 2021, with Cisco’s Mobile Visual Networking Index report claiming that more people across the world will use mobile phones than have access to bank accounts and running water.

Unsurprisingly, the growth of mobile data traffic is projected to increase seven fold over the next five years, with some 5.5 billion people tapping away at mobile phones, and global traffic reaching 587 exabytes annually; the equivalent of 122 times more than all the global traffic generated a decade before hand.

In the future we’ll need mobiles

mobile-phoneMobile data is set to represent 20 percent of the total Internet traffic in 2021 compared to a mere eight percent is swallowed up in 2016.

The predicted rise of mobile data and accessing the Internet through pocketable devices is likely not to surprise many. In many African nations, the lack of a terrestrial phone network had opened up the arena for firms to provide a virtual internet backbone and encourage connections to the web through mobile devices.

The spread of 4G will also propagate this rise in mobile data use, with the cellular technology supporting 58 percent of the total mobile connections by 2021, a forecasted rise of 26 percent over 2016.  

Read More: What is 5G and how is it different from 4G?

The Internet of Things (IoT), underpinned by machine-to-machine connections will contribute to 29 percent of the total of mobile connections, signalling that Cisco predicts a major rise in IoT use and networks, which is unsurprising given the company works closely in that arena.

“With the proliferation of IoT, live mobile video, augmented and virtual reality applications, and more innovative experiences for consumer and business users alike, 5G technology will have significant relevance not just for mobility but rather for networking as a whole,” said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing.

“As a result, broader and more extensive architectural transformations involving programmability and automation will also be needed to support the capabilities 5G enables, and to address not just today’s demands but also the extensive possibilities on the horizon.”

By 2021 Cisco predicts the development of 5G will result in 1.5 percent of the total mobile data traffic working its way over the network technology.

With such predictions, perhaps the UK need to heed O2 CEO Ronan Dunne’s warning that Britain needs a reform in planning to not get left behind in the 5G race.

Quiz: What do you know about 4G?