SA mobiles leap ahead in broadband
The country’s mobile operators have shown a marked improvement in the performance of their networks in the past year, new research shows. But there’s a long way to go. By Craig Wilson.
South Africa is one of the most improved countries in terms of mobile network performance, having shown a 50% improvement between 2011 and 2012, new research by Cisco shows.
However, the country is still far behind the rest of the world when it comes to connectivity speeds needed for next-generation broadband services.
The findings are contained in Cisco’s second annual Global Cloud Index report. The report forecasts that the Middle East and Africa will have the highest growth in cloud-computing based network traffic by 2016.
Cisco found that South Africa’s fixed lines offer an average download speed of 2,05Mbit/s and an average upload speed of 764kbit/s. Average latency — a measure of network lag — is 95ms for consumers and business users combined.
Overall, consumer and business mobile network performance showed average download speeds of 2,63Mbit/s, upload speeds of 1,25Mbit/s and latency of 134ms.
This is compared to the global averages of a fixed-line download speed of 9,4Mbit/s and an upload speed of 4,5Mbit/s. Global mobile download speeds average 2,2Mbit/s while upload speeds average 0,97Mbit/s.
Cisco forecasts that global data-centre traffic will grow four fold, reaching a total of 6,6 zettabytes (a billion terabytes) annually by 2016. The company also predicts that the Middle East and Africa will have the highest rate of cloud-based traffic growth, with a 79% compound annual growth rate. The next highest level of growth is expected to come from Latin America, with 66% compound annual increases.
Globally, Cisco predicts that cloud traffic – which it says is the fastest-growing component of data-centre traffic – will grow six fold. This represents a 44% compound annual growth rate, or a move from 683 exabytes of annual traffic in 2011 to 4,3 zettabytes by 2016.
According to Cisco, the vast majority of data-centre traffic is not caused by end users but by data centres and cloud-computing workloads. By 2016, Cisco expects roughly 76% of data-centre traffic will be generated by storage, production and development data. Replication between data centres will account for a further 7%, with the remaining 17% of data-centre traffic driven by end users accessing cloud-based services for browsing, e-mail and streaming video content.
In the Middle East and Africa, traffic stemming from cloud services will account for 64% of total data-centre traffic by 2016, up from 37% in 2011.
Cloud-based data-centre traffic for the region grew 93% in 2011. Traditional data-centre traffic, meanwhile, will shrink from 63% to 36% of the total by 2016. Overall traffic will reach 91 exabytes a year in 2016 compared to the 15 exabytes in 2011. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media