Report: Connected cars could cause spikes in data traffic at rush hour

Wireless carriers have been eager to get into the connected car market as a way to boost subscriber and revenue growth. However, according to a new report from research firm Machina Research, traffic jams in the future could cause major spikes in mobile data traffic as more connected cars compete with smartphones and tablets for spectrum. By 2024, Machina anticipates that mobile networks will see M2M connections increase from 250 million in 2014 to more than 2.3 billion worldwide. Despite this, M2M applications and services will account for just 4 percent of overall network traffic in the same timeframe. 

"M2M devices, including connected cars, might not consume high volumes of data, but they do have very different demands to tablets and smartphones, which operators must make special plans for," Machina notes. If cars are stalled in traffic and drivers are looking for alternate routes, or passengers are consuming entertainment via hotspots in cars, that could strain network resources. 

"In terms of overall data volumes, connected cars don't present much of a problem," Machina analyst Matt Hatton said in a statement. "But network resource management is not based on total traffic volume, it's based on particular cell sites during peak times of network use. If connected cars regularly cause network traffic spikes in a particular location that can't be met, there are implications for operators in meeting SLAs and delivering a positive quality of experience."

Around one in five vehicles worldwide will have some form of wireless network connectivity by 2020, or more than a quarter of a billion connected vehicles, according to a forecast from research firm Gartner. Article

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