Networking experts are running out of superlatives to describe the coming tidal wave/explosion/cataclysm of mobile data traffic. Cisco last week said mobile data is expected to grow by 11 times in the next four years, reaching 18 exabytes per month by 2018. An exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes. Mobile data traffic is expected to grow by 61 percent annually into 2018, with the extra traffic from just one year—2017—expected to be triple the entire mobile Internet in 2013.
The volume of data crossing U.S. mobile networks will grow almost eight-fold by 2018, and demand for Internet-connected devices will also skyrocket, according to a report released on Wednesday that poses questions about U.S. spectrum policy. U.S. consumers will download and upload more data on their smartphones in 2018 than they did on their laptops in 2013, according to a forecast by Cisco Systems Inc. Americans will continue to lead the world as earlier and faster converts to new smart devices and networks, the Cisco report said. “It’s more people, more connections, faster speeds on the networks and then more rich content, which in this case is video, video, video,” Robert Pepper, Cisco’s vice president for global technology policy, told Reuters.