So if you take a look around lately, whether you’re on the train, at the library, in coffee shops, the odds are very good that there are many who are on either a smartphone or a tablet device talking or texting away or browsing the web.
Both of these mobile devices as you know are now enjoying immense popularity, which is excellent news if you are the mobile provider, retailer or manufacturer. But for the mobile cellular network carriers however, because of the immense popularity of the iPhones as well as the various Android devices, they are suddenly experiencing what’s known as “cellular data congestion” and it’s intensifying at an alarming rate.
So put in simpler terms, the more smartphones as well as tablet PCs that are entering the market and going online, the more strain they are putting on all of the cellular networks around the world.
Mobile Cellular Congestion
There was a recent report conducted which gauged worldwide global mobile data traffic. The result were that cellular network usage will increase 28X fold between 2011 and 2015:
• There were over 3.2 million tablet PCs which were connected to mobile networks in 2010. Each of these units consume 5X times more mobile data traffic than an average smartphone
• A typical smartphone is expected to generate over 14GB of traffic every month in a few years time, which is a 17X time increase from 2010
• Mobile tablets which are connected to mobile networks in 2102 are expected to consume as much traffic per month in the United States alone, as they do today on the entire global mobile network worldwide
• There is expected to be more than 5 billion different types of mobile devices which will be connecting to these mobile networks in a few years, which is close to the world’s population
So given these stats, it’s understandable why mobile carriers are now actively implementing as well as experimenting with alternate solutions to offload or reroute mobile cellular network traffic. This particularly where there are extremely high concentrations of smartphones as well as tablet users that gather and access the network simultaneously, such as at concerts or sporting events, as well as business districts in larger cities.
To get some relief, some of these carrier networks are beginning to install or leasing Wi-Fi equipment from larger manufacturers, rather than just building their own expensive cell towers. Also following these cellular carriers footsteps are major businesses as well as organizations who has high volumes of mobile device users.
Blame It On The Apple iPhone Revolution
One of the best ways that a cellular carrier can address mobile network congestion is by creating “Wi-Fi Hot Zones,” or widespread Wi-Fi hot spots, in certain areas of cities to ease mobile traffic. This traffic jumped significantly when the iPhone was first introduced and gained popularity as it began to simultaneously attracted a lot of users. This smartphone in particular draws significantly more bandwidth to operate over conventional cellphones.
So the larger cellular carriers may be following suit by ‘beefing up’ their own networks to be able to handle this backhaul which may potentially be the bottleneck, as well as allowing these cell sites to increasing downlink capability.
But going beyond Wi-Fi solutions, the cellular carriers are also turning towards femtocells, which will boost 3G performance when the signal strength is poor. Picocells are now also turning up in large office buildings, transportation stations and shopping malls, which extends as well as increases cellular coverage.
Femtocells recently has matured technically in recent years and can be a definite solution that is gaining lots of interest as well as popularity from the operator community. There are a lot of tests as well as trials presently being conducted, where in the past, most operators were wary to roll them because of uncertainties in how they would behave on the cellular networks. But recently, a lot of these issues has been successfully ironed out and the doubts eliminated.
Mobile Devices In The Workplace
Two of the largest industry segments which are predicted to have to deal with this network congestion are universities and hospitals. As far as hospitals are concerned, the system integrators have seen exponential growth in the number of iPhones which are used by their medical staff, adding significant traffic to the individual hospitals networks, which are already overused by users who are trying to access critical electronic medical records when required.
In universities, there are large numbers of students who own mobile devices which adds to the congestion of these schools already distributing smartphones, netbooks, tablets and other mobile devices to students as well as to the faculty contributing to overloading.
But similarly, this cellular congestion as expected is beginning to crop up everywhere, such as in enterprises where large IT departments usually distribute smartphones and tablets to their employees. All of these aging networks and their overloaded infrastructures are not helping matters much either. Large IT departments are stating that the existing infrastructures that’s in place on most corporations or campuses are actually over ten years old. So because of the increased cellular traffic that they’re experiencing now, these infrastructures are just not able to deal with this added amount of traffic.
To solve this, some IT departments are going out and installing femtocells or picocells out of their own pockets and placing them into their network just to deal with this problem. From a corporate standpoint, cellular network congestion is now occurring across virtually every type of businesses and industries.
So The Best Solution Is?
The best approach to solve this issue, particularly for businesses who are seeking to alleviate the cellular network congestion can be subjective, as there are different situations which obviously need different solutions.
Expanding their “Wi-Fi access points” can be too much of a costly proposition for a lot of these businesses, but for those larger corporations with the infrastructure already in place, new technologies such as using the “Smart Wi-Fi” application by Kineto, which they claim is now loaded on more than 1 million mobile Android devices, enables these device to be able to switch automatically from 3G to Wi-Fi when entering a building.
From the perspective of the iPhone or Android operating systems, this technology should become a lot more seamless as it advances. It should become a lot more intelligent, such as these smartphones being able to switch from either Wi-Fi or 3G, depending on the most ideal or stronger connection.
So if corporations, shopping centers or universities decided to boost their own Wi-Fi network, that should alleviate some of the congestion and not rely as heavy on the cellular networks.