Lightening the load

John C. Tanner
08 Sep 2010

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The upshot is that cellcos are going to need as many of these techniques as possible, and as budgets and assets allow, to cope with the vast amount of data headed their way in the next few years. The good news, says Kaul of ABI, is that various offload options can easily co-exist because each address different aspects of the same basic problem. 

"Wi-Fi is effective in covering limited areas containing many users, such as transport stations and sports venues. A femtocell, in contrast, is a good solution for targeting small numbers of heavy data users," Kaul says. "Mobile CDNs attack the problem of frequently-used content, for example a video that has 'gone viral', by caching the file locally rather than loading it onto the network for each download request."

Hartley of Ovum adds that LTE itself will bring extra benefits besides raw capacity to help cellcos manage their data traffic better to ease the burden. "

As you move to LTE, your data traffic efficiency gets better and better, and you'll have better traffic shaping and management tools, content mediation solutions that streamline content so it's purposed for the device, and policy control systems," he says. "You've also got operators moving away from all you can eat, so you can create tiered segments so that the traffic load is less relevant because who cares as long as they're paying for it?" 

NEXT: Cellular networks still 'not ready for data'



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