Mobile data traffic from PC modems and routers is forecast to increase fourfold between 2010 and 2014, according to a new research brief from ABI Research. This year some 2,000 petabytes of data will be sent and received, a figure that will rise to about 8,000 petabytes in 2014.

Jeff Orr, ABI senior analyst, mobile devices, said in a statement: “Today, and for most of our forecast period, modems and routers in Western Europe will generate the highest levels of mobile data traffic, but by an ever-decreasing margin. In 2014, we expect the Asia-Pacific region to overtake Western Europe as the largest source of demand for this traffic.”

The largest contribution to this demand still comes from USB modems, with general web and Internet access the leading application by a wide margin, followed by video streaming and TV viewing and – again at a much lower level – audio streaming.

Peer-to-peer and VoIP applications contribute relatively little to the overall usage mix due to operator service restrictions and/or monthly data usage caps.

“This research continues to demonstrate devices such as modems and routers are driving the majority of mobile data traffic,” said Orr. “It’s not smartphones, nor computers with embedded radios. Versatile, aftermarket modem products are really driving mobile data traffic on the world’s networks.”

The ABI research brief, entitled "Data Traffic Trends for Mobile Broadband Modems and WWAN/Wi-Fi Routers," details the role of PC Card modems, USB dongles, embedded modem modules, and 3G/4G routers.

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