From the inception of the US public wireless networks to around 2013, the dominant infrastructure trend was the expansion of geographical network coverage. During this period, network performance was measured by signal strength, voice quality and connection reliability. Since then, the infrastructure trend has shifted from network coverage to expanding network capacity. A major reason for this shift was the introduction of 4th Generation (4G) smart phones which enabled Internet-like communications that in-turn required the processing of large amounts of data and content. Subsequently, the measure of performance was replaced with mobile users’ immediate data access and communication speed.
Looking ahead to 2016, decision-making by public wireless network operators will be in pursuit of expanding capacity to meet network data traffic forecasts. Two major forces are influencing this trend. First and foremost is the consumers’ insatiable demand for immediate data access and content. Data applications and content, especially in the form of video, are driving data traffic growth. The second force is the ever increasing technological requirements being driven by communications equipment manufacturers and standards organizations, such as the 3GPP and ITU. New standards are being released periodically in preparation for future wireless communication technologies such as the 5th Generation (5G) of wireless communications and the Internet of Things (IoT).
#1: DATA TRAFFIC GROWTH BY THE NUMBERS
AT&T has stated that its network data traffic has increased 1,000-fold since 2007… read the rest of the article