Analyzing the 50% Growth Rate of Data

Author: Drew Kempen, Solution Director- Strategy & Consulting

Since the inception of consumer data services, history has shown that a 50% data growth CAGR on a year-over-year basis is seen. At least when averaged out over that time period. That essentially breaks down to a doubling of traffic usage every 18 months and corresponds with Nielsen’s Law (Nielsen, 1998). This continual growth rate presents a significant challenge for operators who continue to need to migrate and scale their networks. One would think that a provider that provisions their network for 50% utilization of available capacity would be smooth sailing for awhile.  In relative terms, that may be correct but it still means you may be at 100% utilization in just 18 short months. The network never stops growing.

Much of this growth over the past decade has been the gradual transition of consumers to Over-the-top streaming services. Companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube and now SlingTV and DirectTV-Now have brought an entirely new experience to the subscriber. In addition, more and more data moves to the cloud. Information once stored on disks and hard drives such as video, pictures, data files, and backups are now becoming common cloud operations consuming larger amounts of downstream and upstream bandwidth. As people continue to migrate to this method of IP-delivered video, this growth trend of data usage will continue.

One must ask the question however, will this ever slow down, or will it speed up? [Read the rest of the article here.]