February 19, 2014
These days, there’s a lot of data being downloaded onto our mobile phones, computers and tablets. And according to recent studies, we’re consuming this data faster than ever.
In response to this ever-growing data consumption, as well as advancements in wireless network technologies, carriers and operators must accommodate, lest they become overwhelmed – especially considering that the number of public or open and available commercial grade WiFi hotspots is expected to reach 10.55 million in 2018.*
Operators are turning to “offloading” to handle the data traffic crowding their mobile networks, particularly as technology like LTE continues to steadily flourish, increasing the data download demand.
For example, last year in 2013, WiFi offloading rose by a massive 875 percent in the United States as mobile network operators sought to manage the growing traffic strain. In fact, the states nationwide that offloaded at least 90 percent of their data grew nearly 10 times throughout the year (below).†
Another side effect of this increased traffic is a corresponding increase in network speeds. Throughout 2013, WiFi networks amplified their overall speed by 18 percent in the U.S. For cellular networks, the speed increased by 28 percent in 2013.
Take a look at the infographic excerpt below*, from WeFi. It seems that WiFi offloading will continue to grow exponentially over the next five years as WiFi hotspots keep proliferating, and while smartphones, feature phones, and tablets keep consuming more data.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that carriers still must overcome significant obstacles on the path to achieving seamless WiFi.