Cisco study: Wi-Fi hotspots will top 53M by 2018

The escalating number of Wi-Fi hotspots will likely lead to more data traffic being delivered over Wi-Fi networks than wired networks by 2018, according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index, which was released today. The report also predicted that there will be 53 million Wi-Fi hotspots globally by 2018, noting that both cable companies and wireless carriers are extending their reach by employing Wi-Fi hotspot strategies.  

Cisco's annual VNI report also predicted that IP traffic will grow three-fold over the next four years due to more users, more devices, faster broadband connections and more video viewing. In fact, the company said that global IP traffic for fixed and mobile will reach a run rate of more than one and a half trillion gigabytes per year by 2018.

Video will make up a large percentage of that traffic, according to the report. The study said that by 2018 79 percent of all IP traffic will be video in some form. And researchers noted that ultra-HD video, also known as 4K, is taking off and they expect it to gain significant ground by 2018.

Interestingly, Cisco's report also said that Wi-Fi and mobile connected devices will generate 61 percent of all IP traffic in four years and that Wi-Fi will account for 49 percent of that traffic while cellular will account for just 12 percent. In contrast, fixed line traffic will decline to just 39 percent of total IP traffic by 2018, down from 56 percent in 2013.

Notably, Cisco also predicted a surge in M2M connections. The company said it expects there will be 7.3 billion M2M connections globally by 2018.  However, it also said that most M2M connections are not high-bandwidth connections, noting that in 2013 M2M connections accounted for less than 1 percent of all traffic. The firm predicts by 2018 M2M connections will make up less than 3 percent of traffic on the network.

But not all M2M connections are created equally. Cisco researchers said they believe smart cars will have nearly four M2M modules per car by 2018--one for GPS, one for diagnostics, one for entertainment, etc.  And that smart cars will account for 41 petabytes of monthly traffic by 2018, up from 3 petabytes of traffic in 2013.

For more:
- see this press release

Related articles:
Cisco: Average N. American mobile user to consume 6 GB/month in 2017
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Report: LTE subs to climb from 114M in 2013 to 258M in 2014
Report: Half of all mobile connections will be 3G/4G by 2017
Cisco: Global mobile data traffic to increase 18-fold by 2016

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