Nattering Nabobs of Network Negativism Strike Gold

NegativityBetween the upcoming RSA Conference 2014 and Mobile World Congress 2014 my inbox has been overflowing with EVERYTHING security and mobility, but buried in that cornucopia of marketing hype and hysteria were a couple of new surveys that reinforce why networking managers do not get the respect they deserve. The big news are that mobility and machine-to-machine networking demands are accelerating and the numbers are… impressive, to say the least.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013 to 2018, mobile data traffic will increase nearly 11-fold over the next four years (to 190 exabytes annually by 2018), and three times the pace of fixed traffic growth over this period. That’s 190,000 petabytes or a mere 0.19 zettabytes, which works out to:

  • 190 times more than all Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, fixed and mobile, generated in 2000;
  • 42 trillion images (e.g., multimedia message service or Instagram)—15 daily images per person on earth for a year; or
  • 4 trillion video clips (e.g., YouTube)—more than one daily video clip per person on earth for a year.

Cisco attributes this mobile growth to the following 2018 projections:

  • 4.9 billion mobile users, up from 4.1 billion in 2013;
  • more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices/connections—including eight billion personal mobile devices and two billion M2M connections, up from seven billion total mobile-ready devices and M2M connections in 2013
  • average global mobile network speeds will nearly double from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 to 2.5 Mbps;
  • mobile video will represent 69% of global mobile data traffic, up from 53% in 2013;
  • 54% of mobile connections will be “smart” connections with advanced computing/multi-media capabilities and a minimum of 3G connectivity, up from 21% in 2013;
  • smartphones, laptops, and tablets will drive about 94% of global mobile data traffic; M2M traffic will represent 5% while basic handsets will account for 1%; and,
  • mobile cloud traffic will grow 12-fold from 2013 to 2018, a 64% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

A second report, from Infonetics Research, which in previous reports had put the M2M services forecast at $31 billion with M2M connections to top 4 billion by 2017, provides a little more depth on the North American M2M market. It found that a majority of enterprises surveyed expect the need for M2M services to increase over the coming year, validating the assumption made by the top global service providers (Vodafone, AT&T, Verizon, Orange, and Telefonica) that M2M will be a key growth area for their businesses.

There’s no question that the number of M2M connections is going to be huge, but what hasn’t been as clear is why this is happening, said Godfrey Chua, directing analyst for M2M and connected world at Infonetics Research. “We asked enterprises what’s driving their decisions to adopt M2M services, and the number-one factor is the never-ending pursuit of competitive advantage,” continues Chua. “This speaks to the need for M2M services to deliver a strong business case. As technologies continue to evolve and prices come down, enterprises will increasingly turn to M2M to lower operating costs, differentiate their brands, and create new revenue opportunities.”

While the outlook for M2M is bright, security is a top concern, as are regulatory issues and the complexity of the M2M solutions themselves. Network quality is the top criteria for M2M service provider selection, and, not surprisingly, service providers who place a strong emphasis on network reliability and performance — namely Verizon and AT&T — also have significant mindshare in M2M, said Infonetics.

Finally, Talari Networks has released a new report that WAN performance is a huge mess. Most of the respondents — 86.5% — say their WAN negatively impacts business-critical applications either occasionally or frequently. The survey results indicated that on average there are 14 WAN-related incidents a year that negatively impact one or more of a company’s business-critical applications.

Respondents said the impact of degraded performance results in their CIO getting pressure from their boss or related business unit manager (44.4%); tarnished reputation of the IT organization (43.5%); and revenue loss (38.2%). The research shows that by a very wide margin the most important factors that will impact the WAN in the next 12 months are improving application performance (42%) and providing better support to real-time applications (32.4%).

The bottom line is that it’s not only are the Olympic contestants going for gold, according to the Nattering Nabobs of Network Negativism. Like Chicken Little — or former VP Spiro Agnew — they can now run around chortling that the network sky is falling.