Cisco predicted that the number of mobile-connected devices per capita would reach 1.5 by 2022. As 2022 comes to a close, we see that figure as accurate as mobile traffic exceeded wired.
Cisco goes on to say that Mobile-to-Mobile (M2M) connections are increasing more rapidly than other categories as 4G networks continue to improve and the even faster 5G comes online.
Will this trend continue? This article explains why mobile traffic has and should continue to exceed wired in terms of reliability, flexibility, user experience, and cost savings.
9 Reasons Mobile Traffic Has Exceeded Wired
1. Disadvantages of Wired Traffic
The main disadvantage of wired networking is the lack of mobility. You must move to a physical location to access the network or run extra cables to create new access locations. Of course, this requires more time to install.
In addition to cables, building hubs requires hardware like routers and switches: the larger the network infrastructure, the more complex the process.
If the network is large enough, you’ll need a server. From there, maintenance costs climb higher as the network requires updates, expansions, and additional servers to keep up with the increased bandwidth and network load.
2. Wireless Traffic Changes the Tech Landscape
The advent of wireless networking changed everything because it means faster and more efficient communications and transfer of information. Having Wi-Fi meant that people could connect from everywhere at any time. Moreover, they could compute while in motion.
They could complete industry-related tasks while connected. One example would be updating inventory while stocking the shelves or checking prices on the sales floor without having to find a computer station. Moreover, all these benefits come with reduced costs because wireless networks are cheaper and faster to install than wired systems.
Each new generation of wireless networking offers increased accessibility, bandwidth, and speed. For instance, mobile devices can handle video calling and the internet with the older 3G, albeit with some difficulties and slower speeds.
With 4G speeds, however, mobile users can play online games, conduct high-quality video conferencing, and stream in High Definition (HD). With the incredibly fast 5G speeds, autonomous self-driving vehicles are a reality, as are virtual and augmented reality and 4k ultra-HD mobile streaming.
Regarding bandwidth, mobile users working with 3G and 4G bandwidth experience slower speeds during peak usage hours. While 4G upgrades have improved this, the latencies still exist. 5G bandwidth, on the other hand, users can execute tasks that require substantial bandwidth at any time with far fewer issues related to network traffic.
3. The Evolution of Smarter Mobile Devices
Moving along with Wi-Fi technology is the evolution of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Our devices keep us connected to the rest of the planet. Moreover, they are indispensable in the workplace, especially now that it is no longer the traditional brick-and-mortar office. People are working remotely from home and while travelling using mobile devices exclusively.
While tablets support remote work, they also have a place in warehouses, brick-and-mortar retail stores, and other businesses where they support the employees working in the field or on the floor. For example, technicians and other skilled labourers can carry tablets to assist in running diagnostics and ordering parts while working with the machinery rather than taking notes back to a workstation.
The same applies to sales personnel or warehouse employees who can tally inventory and order supplies on the spot. The applications are limitless as you apply them to other fields like medicine, telecommunications, law enforcement, etc.
4. Increased Usage of IoT Devices
The Internet of Things (IoT) is also possible due to today’s robust wireless networks, allowing these devices to play a significant role in consumers’ daily lives. IoT devices allow you to control household appliances and other things like thermostats, televisions, coffee makers, refrigerators, and the doorbell from your smartphone.
In addition, voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa allow you to streamline day-to-day tasks like ordering groceries and setting reminders. You can speak commands rather than stop to open an app or power up your computer.
IoT enables more than household conveniences. Entire smart cities are developing, which involve using IoT to monitor city-wide conditions like air quality, electricity, water usage, and traffic. Finally, IoT has similar uses in industrial, retail, and corporate platforms. Industrial smart devices can streamline productivity and increase proficiency.
Retail products can report usage data back to the company. The same technology can aid in scheduling meetings and distributing communications in the corporate setting.
5. Wearable Smart Devices
In addition to smart devices for the home, there’s a plethora of wearable smart devices that are becoming increasingly popular. In addition to the Apple Watch, wearables include head-mounted displays (HMDs), jewellery, and clothing. These devices have basic computing functions and can also perform health-tracking services like calorie tracking, blood pressure, heart rate monitoring, etc.
HMDs are bulkier than most wearable computing devices because they give the user a full field of view. The user doesn’t have to look down to view a separate display. HMDs either superimpose reality through augmented reality (AR) or completely immerse the wearer in virtual reality (VR).
While most people know that smartwatches enable the wearer to read and send messages, other technologies include electrocardiogram heart readings and solar charging capabilities. Smart jewellery like the smart ring is an extension of the health-tracking capabilities found in smartwatches. Users wear smart rings as they would standard rings. The ring captures and records health-tracking data that the user can view on a smartphone. Other versions of smart jewellery are bracelets and fitness trackers.
Another wearable is smart clothing, which can provide added insight because it makes contact with more of the body’s surface. The potential here is for advanced tracking for medical care and lifestyle improvement. An existing brand includes Siren Socks, which can detect developing foot ulcers. Another is Nadi X smart pants, which are yoga pants that vibrate to improve your form during yoga practice. Finally, there are Naviano smart swimsuits that alert the wearer when they should apply more sunscreen.
6. Wi-Fi Hotspot Growth Explodes
In 2021, the global Wi-Fi hotspot market value reached US$3.98 Billion. The market is expected to reach US$11.76 Billion by 2027. Driving this growth is the increased digitisation and deployment of smart infrastructures worldwide. After all, Wi-Fi hotspots benefit enterprises of all sizes by expanding their networks at a low cost. Public Wi-Fi networks have become more than a convenience. They are essential for travellers who need to work from the road.
As discussed, Wi-Fi connections enhance data transmission, provide easy access to needed applications, and deliver an almost seamless experience with the higher 5G networks. This applies to industries beyond the corporate level. Brands, for example, can improve customer experience by offering and utilising Wi-Fi hotspots in their stores. They can better meet customers’ needs, understand their purchasing behaviours, and build brand loyalty.
7. Cloud Computing Becomes Available from Anywhere
Mobile Cloud Computing (MCC) delivers applications to mobile devices. The mobile cloud combines cloud-based data services and applications designed specifically for mobile devices.
Computations run on the cloud compute layer, where data can also be stored. This enables apps to run on mobile devices because the device itself isn’t storing the data or multiple apps. So, its resources remain available. MCC uses mobile cloud apps powered by cloud services, which deploy remotely. This combination of mobile computing, cloud computing, and wireless networks makes it possible for mobile applications to work on different mobile devices. The result is that one can take advantage of cloud computing anywhere there is an internet connection.
8. Virtual Reality Is Now a Reality
VR creates simulated environments in which the user becomes immersed using headsets or helmets. The VR objects and scenes appear real, making the user feel like they are a part of the virtual world. For example, they play video games as one of the characters. VR in the medical field enables the student to perform surgical and other simulated procedures.
Not so long ago, VR simulations were considered futuristic. However, they are now a reality with practical applications that go beyond gaming entertainment.
9. Augmented Reality Becomes Widely Used
AR allows virtual elements to be superimposed onto the user’s view. While AR was already in use within retail, health, architecture, education, engineering, and other sectors, the popular video game Pokémon GO brought AR closer to all audiences. The game used AR to insert Pokémon characters into the user’s field of vision using smartphones so that the characters appeared around them.
If you’ve ever shopped for furniture online and had the option to “view in your room,” then you’ve used augmented reality technology to “see” how the couch looks in your living room.
Between 2016 and 2021, wireless IP traffic increased from 41% of total IP traffic to over 46%, while wired traffic dropped from 51% to 37% (source: Cisco). Given the advances in network speed and reliability along with the rise in cloud computing, it’s easy to understand why. Just about all tasks and online activities can now be accomplished with mobile devices. As ours becomes a more connected world, we will continue to see technological advances in wireless networks.