The way people communicate, stay informed and are entertained has changed dramatically over the past several years. Two major factors driving this change have been the Internet and mobile communication. As these drivers have come together to create the mobile Internet, mobile operator business models have rapidly evolved to address the opportunity with enhanced communications.
Moving forward, this evolution is now generating not one but three major disruptions in the industry - mobile broadband speeds, consumer-friendly billing plans and multimedia device usability - which combined will result in a traffic tidal wave that requires a true next-generation multimedia core network.
These drivers are fueling data traffic usage beyond expectations and placing unprecedented pressure on the packet core network. Today's non-HSPA packet core networks are designed to handle EDGE and WCDMA services that peaked at 384 kbps.
However, with the multi megabit performance of HSPA and growing subscriber base, the packet core network must become a multimedia core that is designed for this increasing demand. The packet core network must change drastically to provide the intelligence, performance and scale required for HSPA mobile broadband with always-on services - not to mention to be ready for LTE.
Disruptions in detail
Before going further, it's worth looking at the above disruptions in a little more detail.
The mobile world is moving from hundreds of kbps to multi-megabits rates well ahead of the mass market commercialization of LTE. The multi-megabit rates include both downstream and upstream bandwidth as the mobile Internet is migrating from email and basic Internet access to mobile TV, video on demand and advanced gaming services.
As a result, the evolution of EDGE/WCDMA networks to HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE is a major technology disruption offering speeds to mobile devices from 3 Mbps to 14Mbps today with HSPA, 28-42Mbps with HSPA+, and finally well over 100 Mbps with LTE. The average traffic per subscriber is expected to grow dramatically for each of the technologies.