In the next few years, cloud computing and Internet of Things applications will cause an exponential growth in data traffic worldwide. This trend will also drive an increasing need for fast, reliable connectivity based on fiber-optic connections, according to predictions by various market researchers.
Let’s talk about the figures first. Market intelligence firm IDC estimates that there will be 25.6 billion active IoT devices within two years, ranging from sensors for dike monitoring to smart traffic lights and cars that are connected to the internet. In 2020, that number will rise to a whopping 30 billion.
All of that IoT hardware will cause in a hefty spike in data traffic. Three years from now, according to calculations by US-based chipmaker Intel, a smart factory will generate 1,000,000 GB of data per day. By then, Intel estimates that a self-driving car will send roughly 4,000 GB of data to cloud platforms every day, while a ‘smart hospital’ will be good for 3,000 GB. To put all of this into perspective: in 2020, the average person using the internet will account for about 1.5 GB per day in data traffic on average.
In approximately three years, part of those data communications will already be running on the first 5G networks. The successor to the current 4G standard for mobile data and voice communication is expected to enter the market in 2020. 5G provides low latency coupled with higher speeds and lower power use. Those features also demand a faster and more reliable network infrastructure, as provided by fiber-optic connections. Various major operators in the USA, including AT&T and Verizon, are already working hard on transitioning their land-line networks to fiber, aiming to make them ‘5G-ready’.
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