Consumer WiFi Use: No Letup in Sight

Some stats about the use of WIFI data.

Consumers use a large amount of data on their mobile devices. Among U.S. broadband households, approximately 20 GB is the mean data consumption per month, with 14 GB used on WiFi and 6 GB through 3G/4G/LTE networks.

From 2015 to 2016, the monthly WiFi data consumption of consumers has increased by 40 percent. WiFi use has been increasing rapidly than mobile data while data use overall has been increasing. WiFi use is strongly associated with the use of 4G/LTE data. As use of one increases, so does use of the other.

Holders of unlimited data plan also use WiFi; 25 percent of them use more than 15 GB of WiFi data per month.


In the Home

About 75 percent of broadband households in the U.S. use a home WiFi network, which is equivalent to 76 million WiFi access points. WiFi internet connections can be made in number of ways, this is through DSL or fiber-optic broadband from a telephone company, cable high-speed Internet from a cable provider, satellite Internet from a satellite provider, or, increasingly, through WiFi hotspots powered by a device accessing a 3G/4G mobile network.

Fixed wireless broadband has offered last-mile service over a wireless connection using high-frequency radio signals. The older technology was limited to 10 Mbps of network bandwidth, required line-of-sight access between the subscriber and a ground station, and suffered from weakening during the rain and fog.

However, newer experiments in the mmWave band, done in anticipation of 5G which allows fixed wireless broadband to expand beyond its traditional offering.


Out and About

By the latest WiFi hotspot standards, which partition the WiFi channels into public and private use, this hybrid model is made possible . Through this kind of technology, public WiFi hotspot numbers are increased greatly in these countries, a benefit appreciated by customers.

Consumers’ appetite for mobile data will continue to increase at a faster speed, no matter the location.

Monthly consumption of mobile data will top 49 exabytes, up from 7.2 exabytes recorded in December 2016, according to Cisco.

While mobile networks will be upgraded by then, this huge amount of data nevertheless will pressure-test a mobile network’s limits, and offloading solutions like WiFi are expected to play an important role in mobile operators’ network densification strategy.

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