Juniper Research is predicting almost unfathomable amounts of mobile data traffic will be generated by mobile handsets and tablets by 2017, but only a mere 40 percent of the data will go over cellular networks.
Data traffic generated by the aforementioned devices will reach 90,000 petabytes by 2017, equivalent to almost 42 quadrillion tweets or approximately 7 billion Blu-ray movies, said Juniper in a new report. But Wi-Fi networks are expected to handle the majority of that traffic.
"Operators will make use of more integrated units of Wi-Fi and small cells. In the case of indoor cells, where most usage happens, you effectively have Wi-Fi as the pioneer," said report author Nitin Bhas.
Specifications such as Next-Generation Hotspot (NGH) and Hotspot 2.0 along with 5 GHz enabled devices will help accelerate carrier-Wi-Fi adoption, said Juniper. The firm's report also finds that mobile network operators are beginning to build out networks based on public access small cells and that has had a big effect on the offload ecosystem.
North America and Western Europe will have the highest offload factor throughout the forecast period, said the firm.
There also will be some onloading, as opposed to offloading, going on. According to Juniper, notebooks and e-readers will onload more than 20 percent of their data traffic to the mobile networks in 2013.
- see this Juniper Research release
AT&T, Boingo ink international Wi-Fi roaming deal
AT&T: Multi-standard small cells at least a year off
Madden: Small cells will carry more capacity than macros
Wi-Fi offloading picks up speed worldwide
AT&T's customers generate 80% of smartphone, tablet connections on its Wi-Fi hotspots
Boingo exec: Enhanced cellular/Wi-Fi roaming to launch commercially in 2014