To that end, total monthly share of bandwidth used by the top 1 percent of users was 52 percent of overall bandwidth in 2010; as of 2013, it was only 10 percent. What's more, since per-user consumption varies per month, that top 1 percent is actually made up of a revolving pool of customers, so it's more like 3.5 percent of the total.
Smart devices, HD video, and IPv6 all figure in too
Machine-to-machine connectivity -- another aspect of Cisco's definition of smart devices, which includes wearables -- is also supposed to make up a sizable amount of that traffic by 2018, to the tune of 2 billion connections. Cisco is pushing its "fog computing" concept as part of its vision of the Internet of things, so it comes as little surprise it'd touch on this as a predicted driver of future traffic.
Cisco's prediction for the biggest slice of mobile data usage isn't surprising: video. The top spot is already claimed by video, but by 2018 Cisco imagines both the raw percentage and total amount of data (11 of 15.9 exabytes) used for video will explode.
The increasing number of devices with HD displays means HD content consumption will ramp up to match, although it isn't clear in the report if the estimates factor in the effect of future-generation HD codecs (HEVC, VP9) or are based on the current generation of codecs (H.264, mainly). On the other hand, the growth of video consumption might offset gains derived from better codecs.
Another forward-looking stat, IPv6 adoption, anticipates that about half of all mobile devices and connections will be IPv6 by 2018. (Verizon Wireless has been one of the early adopters of IPv6 for mobile customers.) And one more data point ought to hearten Android fans: The data consumption ratios between Android and iOS devices is about even across the board at this point -- which has been true since early last year -- although the jury is still out on which of the two platforms is more monetizable.
This article, "The mobile data explosion: All signs point upward," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.