Mobile Data Growth and the Impact to Wireless Networks

Managing the Changing IT Landscape: Impact of Mobile Data


Cisco has predicted that the number of connected mobile devices in 2014 is going to surpass the world's population.  At 7.1 billion and growing, it represents both a challenge and opportunity for IT. The mobile traffic these devices will generate will easily exceed the current bandwidth of our wireless networks creating a potential choke point for collaboration and business.

A Crystal Ball on Mobile Traffic

mobiledatagrowth.jpgLooking ahead to even the next four years shows incredible growth. recently highlighted Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, an initiative that forecasts the impact of networking apps on global networks.

According to the report, global mobile data traffic will “grow 15.9 exabytes per month by 2018, nearly an 11-fold increase over 2013.” Over half of these connected devices will be “smart” devices and tablet traffic will represent nearly 1/6th  of the entire mobile network in 2018.

The Role of IoT

Also driving data growth will be the Internet of Things (IoT). Whether its biometric sensors for healthcare monitoring or municipalities that collect data to monitor traffic or water use—or everything in between—we are moving toward smart communities.

At this rate, the impact of this data traffic will drain the existing capacity of our wireless networks – and the bandwidth challenge will be felt by every business.


Taking Proactive Approach to Wireless Innovation

By preparing for the explosion of connected devices and keeping pace with demand, businesses have an opportunity to transform productivity and increase ROI.  Intel IT is preparing is by re-architecting its Mobile Employee Hotspot to expand bandwidth.

intel it wireless hotspot growth.jpgTheir strategy is designed for flexibility as well, responding and adjusting to business demands.  In 2005, wireless refresh was focused on hotspot expansion meant to simply serve visitors on campus. Then, by 2010, the goals of wireless upgrades had evolved into serving employees’ personal connectivity needs. When Intel IT realized the productivity benefits gained by supporting the hotspot accounts, things changed again.

The number of hotspot accounts grew considerably from 2011-2013, with the goal of maintaining constant connectivity and a good user experience that kept up with demand. Intel IT found four key benefits from this approach:

  • Stronger security gives IT more control, including scalability and access by device type.
  • Easy to use means greater adoption, whether it’s adding another device or a faster login.
  • Employees can work when and how they want with access to the business apps they need.
  • IT can reduce costs by reusing the existing IT infrastructure.

The Intel IT whitepaper dives deeper into the architecture, investments, challenges and approaches needed to modernize wireless networks inside an enterprise.

My question for you, how is your organization preparing for the inevitable surge of connected devices and mobile data growth?

Chris Peters

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