The Mammoth Internet: Are We Ready?
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© 2013 IEEE. The internet has made massive progress since the 1990s. The amount of traffic that crosses the Internet now is 22 million times more than what was generated in 1992. Although the fiber optic cables replaced the century-old copper cables to transmit trillions of bits per second, the end user at a local area is still hungry for more bandwidth to run new emerging applications. This put both ISPs and the mobile network operators under challenges: Are they ready for the Mammoth Internet? Will ISPs be able to offer the capacity to meet the growing demand? Is their infrastructure capable of serving the future disruptive services such as 4K/8K technology, VR/AR, autonomous vehicles, etc? The literature lacks a comprehensive study of bandwidth requirements for the end user in both fixed-access and mobile Internet. In this paper, we bridge the gap that is missing in the current literature. We provide an insightful study regarding bandwidth consumption in both fixed-access and mobile networks. We investigate bandwidth drivers in both fixed access and mobile networks and forecast the future behaviors and consumption of the end user. We Identify Internet of Things (IoT), video streaming, 4K technology, and VR/AR as potential bandwidth drivers of both fixed-access and mobile Internet. We design our models to forecast the bandwidth of both residential Internet and mobile data by 2021 and measure the contribution of each bandwidth driver to this projection. Our models include all possible types of end users and their bandwidth consumption behaviors. Our results show that video entertainment with 4K technology along with VR/AR will be the top drivers of future bandwidth, while IoT will be of least impact among them. Furthermore, we present a supporting use case to calculate the bandwidth requirements for streaming video content on regular and flagship handsets. Regarding the fixed-access Internet, our model shows that 50% of households will require ≤78 Mbps, 12% of households will require between 78 and 100 Mbps, and nearly 5% will require ≥500 Mbps. Furthermore, our model for mobile bandwidth shows that 50% of the cellular connection-sharing devices will require ≤25 Mbps, 35% will require between 25-50 Mbps, and nearly 5% will require between 100-138 Mbps. Although this study shows results for a specific time period, our bandwidth models are time-independent and can be used for any period. Furthermore, our model can be employed in socio-economic models to predict the economic benefits and potential revenues.