Juniper: Small cells, Wi-Fi to carry nearly 60% of mobile traffic in five years

Mobile operators will offload nearly 60 per cent of their data traffic over the next five years as data usage continues to rise, according to a new study from Juniper Research.

According to the report, operators are increasingly seeking to reduce the load on their networks due to the proliferation of connected smart devices by deploying their own Wi-Fi hotspot networks and offering small cell solutions to end-users.

Juniper Research claims that the original concept of using small cells to enhance network coverage has shifted towards using the technology as an offload solution and integrating them with Wi-Fi technology within a single unit.

The report author, Nitin Bhas, said that the deployment of integrated cells boosts the potential benefits to mobile operators beyond coverage improvement and congestion relief. "With Wi-Fi integrated small cells, seamless data services can be extended to non-cellular devices as well, such as cameras and Wi-Fi-only tablets, offering operators the opportunity to develop new revenue streams," Bhas said in a statement.

The analyst claims that the study also identified that small cells will account for a steadily increasing proportion of offloaded data over the forecast period, with North America and Western Europe accounting for over 75 per cent of global mobile data offloaded throughout the five years period.

However, researchers at the University of Twente in Holland believe that Wi-Fi is reaching its capacity limits caused by the upsurge in devices using the unlicensed technology.

The researchers claim, according to Telecom Paper, that when many Wi-Fi-enabled devices are simultaneously active, capacity and efficiency starts to be impacted with actual transmission speeds being dragged down by as much as 20 per cent of the advertised rates.

For more:
- see this Juniper Research release
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)

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