Comcast recorded 445.8 Petabytes of traffic on its Wi-Fi network last year

BOSTON -- Comcast said it is seeing dramatic increases in network traffic on its Xfinity-branded Wi-Fi network. Specifically, Comcast's Cole Reinwand said that the operator recorded fully 445.8 million GB (or 445.8 Petabytes) of traffic on its Xfinity Wi-Fi network last year.

Reinwand, who revealed the figures during a panel discussion here at the INTX show, said that figure is up significantly from Comcast's overall network traffic in 2014 when it recorded 74.8 million GB of data traffic on its Wi-Fi network. In 2013 the company recorded 6.9 million GB of Wi-Fi data traffic, and in 2012 the company recorded 1.2 million GB of data traffic.

In his comments, Reinwand also said that Comcast's Xfinity Wi-Fi users engage in an average of 150 Wi-Fi sessions per month, and connect an average of two devices per person. He also said that last month the company recorded 80 Petabytes of traffic on its network.

Finally, Reinwand said that, based on Cisco's traffic estimates, Comcast handled roughly 9 percent of all the mobile data traffic that was offloaded to Wi-Fi networks in 2015 in the United States.

Comcast operates around half a million public Wi-Fi hotspots around the country through its Xfinity brand. The company is also a member of the Cable WiFi Alliance along with Bright House Networks, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable that was created in 2012 to foster roaming among the public hotspots of participating cable providers.

In other Comcast mobile news, Comcast late last year announced it would activate an MVNO agreement with Verizon with an eye toward testing some kind of wireless service this year. Reinwand said that "we've got some smart people that are looking at what that would mean," adding that Comcast "has options" thanks to its MVNO deal with Verizon.

Reinwand addressed Comcast's announcement this week of a teaming with Ericsson to deploy cargo vans outfitted with Wi-Fi access points that will allow Comcast to provide Xfinity-branded Wi-Fi services at community activities, sporting events and emergency response initiatives. Reinwand said Comcast currently plans to operate two of the vans and will deploy them to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

The vans, dubbed "Wi-Fi On Wheels," are customized Ford Transit 350 vans outfitted with six Wi-Fi access points, which Ericsson said can support up to 2,500 people at a range of 500 feet. The vans sport multiple network access connections, non-line-of-sight (NLOS) microwave backhaul, onboard backup power and modular deployment elements "that enable Comcast to launch operations in minutes," Ericsson said.

Comcast is also one of the 99 entities registered to bid in the FCC's upcoming incentive auction of TV broadcasters' unwanted 600 MHz spectrum, though company officials have said the operator likely won't be a big spender at the event. However, due to the FCC's rules Reinwand wasn't able to discuss the auction or Comcast's participation in the event.

Related articles:
Comcast takes Wi-Fi mobile: Cable operator to outfit trucks with portable hotspots, microwave backhaul
Comcast and other 5G hopefuls take note: gobs of millimeter wave spectrum in FCC hands
Analyst: Comcast triggers MVNO deal, will launch Wi-Fi-first service in 2016