Open Channel For Everyone

Until now, Open Channel’s benefits were made available through mobile operators and smartphone manufacturers. They certainly benefit enormously from the traffic and battery optimization, but we always thought we can do better, and one day bring Open Channel available for everyone.

Today is that day.

We wanted to bring a unique set of features that benefit you personally, as an end user. And we didn’t stop in extending the battery life. Open Channel helps you control your data usage, stands between you and the companies attempting to track your privacy, and tracks the quality of your online experience for you. We hope you will find these useful!

Many apps use the network and drain battery in the    background. As you use your phone, we show how much they affect your battery life and how much Open Channel extends it for you. Open Channel’s smart algorithms work in the background to increase standby battery life.

Open Channel provides unique views and controls to your data usage for each application and type of data, including videos and images. Open Channel helps you understand how you use mobile data and control the usage. Use the “Set Data Plan” feature to track your data usage and the “Set Limits” feature to avoid overage charges.

Many companies track your activity online without your consent. Open Channel can block these trackers to protect your privacy.

QUALITY OF EXPERIENCEQuality of Experience 1
Open Channel monitors the quality of your online experience and reports it back to you on a map to highlight where your experience is good and where it is not. As we gather data from more users, you will be able to compare your experience to others.

Open Channel is now available for Android smartphones from Google Play, free of charge.

Get it on Google Play

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Smartphone Battery Life: The Impact of the Device Radio

Even with ongoing improvements in battery technology, many mobile phone users remain less than satisfied with the battery life of their devices. When a device cannot make it through a full day without needing to be recharged, this can result in a significant inconvenience for the mobile user.

It is common knowledge that a smartphone’s display consumes large amounts of energy and therefore has a significant impact on battery life. Less well-known is the “silent killer” of battery life: energy consumption by the device radio. We have found that for typical users, the radio can account for between one-third and two-thirds of battery use. What’s more, much of the radio activity draining the battery occurs when the user is not actively using the device. (This is in contrast to battery consumption by the screen, since the screen being on correlates strongly with active use). Many of the most popular applications continue to interact with the network to receive updates when the screen is off. These background interactions result in frequent device connections that cause the radio to remain in a higher energy state.

To illustrate the impact of connections and time connected on battery life, here is a plot of current draw in milliamps (mA) over time as a device connected to an actual LTE network: connection-chart1 The brief, smaller spikes are the result of the device synchronizing with the network, which occurs at intervals of about a second and a quarter. These smaller spikes have a short duration, so they do not have a significant effect on overall battery use.

The device connection is the large period of increased energy draw in the middle of the chart. We can clearly see that immediately prior to initiation of the network connection at approximately 2836 seconds, the average current draw is negligible. As soon as the connection is initiated, the current draw jumps up to more than 300 mA, and subsequently drops down to roughly 180 mA until the connection is dropped at 2852 seconds.

From this example we can see that the current draw when the device is connected averages about 200 mA, compared to about 4 mA when the device is not connected. This indicates that a device connection causes the battery to drain fifty times faster than it does in the idle state. Another way of looking at this is that one second of connection time is equivalent to fifty seconds in the “not connected”, or “standby” state. Our tests also show that time connected has a much stronger effect on battery drain than the number of device connections.

These results parallel those presented by Google as part of their Android L feature announcement at the Google I/O developers’ conference. They examined the battery impact of several scenarios in which a device wakes up from an idle state, involving the screen, the radio, and/or the CPU. Their research showed that for every second that a device is active, standby time is reduced by a full two minutes. This 120-1 ratio is consistent with our results, given that their tests included scenarios where the screen was on.

The significance of all of this is that device connections happen frequently during the day, most of them the result of background activity created by chatty mobile apps. To the degree that we can reduce the number and duration of device connections, we can both relieve signaling congestion in the network and extend device battery life. Our traffic optimization technology is able to do this without adversely impacting end-user experience.

Posted in Longer Battery Life, Mobile Technology, Network Congestion, Smartphone battery life, Traffic Optimization, Unnecessary Signaling | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Measuring Mobile Traffic Optimization: Connections and Time Connected

Signaling messages occur at a deep layer in the network, and therefore are not directly observable. This means that we must rely on other metrics to determine the efficacy of technologies for optimizing mobile traffic with respect to signaling activity. Those metrics should correspond directly to the network resources that are overburdened by the excessive background traffic generated by chatty mobile apps.

For today’s blog we will focus on two related measures: the number of connections and time connected. Let’s define what we mean by these terms. First, it’s important to note that when we say “number of connections” we mean device connections rather than application connections. Specifically, a connection occurs when the device radio moves from idle (lowest radio power state) to connected (higher power state), triggered by a network transaction when the radio is idle. Once the device is connected, multiple network transactions can occur as long at the radio remains in a connected state. Similarly, “time connected” means total time during which a device radio remains in the connected state, and is therefore occupying network capacity.

Each time a device connects to the network, it is using up signaling capacity as the network processes the request. Too many devices trying to connect at once can overwhelm the network’s ability to process these requests. Each device connection results in multiple signaling messages, so the number of connections and time connected serve as useful proxies for the volume of signaling activity – which as we said, cannot be observed directly. It should be noted that the ratio between signaling messages and connections varies depending upon the underlying network technology.

The key thing to remember about “number of connections” and “time connected” as metrics is that they correspond directly to the benefit derived by mobile carriers when they deploy Open Channel Traffic Optimization. These measures allow us to effectively track the ability of the software to ease the burden on critical network resources, thus helping mobile carriers to achieve greater network efficiency and lower infrastructure costs.  Specifically, measuring the difference in the number of connections and time connected with and without the software activated allows us to quantify its impact.

If you have read this far, you are probably wondering how effective Open Channel Traffic Optimization is at reducing the number of connections and time connected. To discover the answer, we invite you to download our new white paper, titled “Open Channel Traffic Optimization Carrier Field Trial Results”.

Incidentally, there is also a strong causal relationship between the amount of time that the device spends in a connected state and battery consumption.  We will discuss that relationship in a future blog post.

Posted in Mobile Devices, Mobile Infrastructure, Mobile Technology, Network Congestion, Traffic Optimization | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Results Are In: Carrier Trials Prove Effectiveness of Open Channel Traffic Optimization

SEVEN Networks conducts trials with mobile operators to demonstrate the effectiveness of our Open Channel Traffic Optimization software. A new white paper presents results from recent trials publicly for the first time.

The trial results confirmed what we knew all along: that Open Channel Traffic Optimization substantially lightens the mobile signaling load on carrier networks and reduces bandwidth consumption. It also significantly extends battery life. To provide someMobile-Traffic-Optimization-Trial-Results hard data around this, on average battery life was 17% longer for devices on which
the software was optimizing mobile data traffic. Two other important optimization metrics showed results that were even more favorable – by a wide margin. To see the full results, please download the white paper (registration required.)

The white paper outlines the trial methodology, defines the metrics used, and provides trial results for six carriers. The trials are designed to help each carrier understand the results that the software can deliver in a full-scale production deployment. Trial users are typically selected from among the carrier’s own employees, and they are instructed to use the phone as if it were their own. SEVEN Networks does not require or request that specifics apps be installed (or not installed), which ensures unbiased results.

Trials consist of a baseline period and an optimization period, each usually lasting about a week. During the baseline period, the software is present on the device, but the optimization functionality is turned off. During the second period, the optimization functionality is activated. By comparing metrics across the two periods, we are able to measure the benefits of the software.

The carriers involved in the trials span three continents – North America, Europe, and Asia – and they have diverse profiles in terms of size, network technology, app mix, and user behavior. The fact that the results were so consistently positive indicates that the product will have a positive impact in a wide variety of carrier environments.

For a full description of these exciting results, we invite you to download the white paper.

Posted in Longer Battery Life, Mobile Infrastructure, Mobile Technology, Network Congestion, Traffic Optimization | Leave a comment

Meet with SEVEN Networks at Mobile World Congress 2014

The Mobile World Congress Conference for 2014 is nearly upon us. Running from February 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain, this year’s event promises to be a perfect venue for attendees to speak to mobile industry product and service providers, and learn more about the latest technology developments, current trends, and strategic growth initiatives.

SEVEN Networks will be there – meeting with mobile carriers and prospective partners, and discussing the latest developments related to SEVEN’s Open Channel product line. These include Signaling Optimization, Policy Enforcement, Seamless Mobility, and Wi-Fi QoE. Open Channel products provide intelligent on-device mobile traffic management and optimization for wireless carriers.

Members of the SEVEN Networks team will be available in our meeting room throughout the four-day event. If you would like to schedule an appointment to meet with us, please email us at

We hope to see you there!

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How Chatty Apps Shorten Smartphone Battery Life

Will longer battery life become the next feature battleground for smartphones?

Antony Leather writing on believes it should be because mobile subscribers are growing frustrated with constantly recharging their phones – to the point that they would accept thicker phones just to have longer battery life.

The problems that he identifies are antiquated battery technology and increasingly heavy usage: “The trouble is, few if any manufacturers seem to have cottoned on to just how much each of us uses our smartphone.”

Another very important issue is how much battery power is being consumed when users are not actively using their phones. Even when a phone is to all outward appearances idle, there is a lot going in the background that drains battery life. Smartphones are not connected all the time; rather they repeatedly connect and disconnect during the day as they sit idle on a table top, in a pocket, or in a briefcase.

It’s intuitive and obvious that when the screen is on, it leads to higher power consumption than when it’s off. What’s less obvious is that the activity of the phone’s radio is another driver of battery drain. When the radio is on, the device consumes power at a higher rate that when it’s off. And when the radio state changes frequently – moving from off to on and back again repeatedly – that also leads to higher power consumption and faster battery drain.

Mobile subscribers typically have a few dozen apps installed, and most of those apps frequently check for new data. Frequent updates are intrinsic to the always on nature of the mobile experience. However, a large portion of this constant checking for updates is unnecessary, because no new data is available. Even so, those chatty apps keep checking. This background activity causes the device to be connected for longer than it needs to be, and it also causes more frequent changes in radio state. This in turn leads to accelerated battery drain.

Signaling optimization reduces both the time the device is connected to the mobile network and the number of connections. The immediacy of the mobile experience for the subscriber is not adversely impacted, because it’s the unnecessary background activity that is optimized away. By reducing both the time that the device is connected as well as the number of changes in the radio state, battery life is significantly improved.

Posted in Longer Battery Life, Open Channel Signaling Optimization, Unnecessary Signaling | Leave a comment

Come See SEVEN Networks at LTE North America 2013

The issue of mobile network signaling will be the focus of an entire day at the upcoming LTE North America 2013 conference (November 20-22 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas, Texas), and the SEVEN Networks team will be there.

The Signaling Focus Day at the conference, on November 20, will give attendees the opportunity to participate in interactive learning sessions to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges of mobile network signaling.

SEVEN Networks will be addressing app-related signaling in an afternoon panel discussion titled “Managing the Impact of ‘Chatty’ Apps and Devices Upon 4G Networks,” which features Ross Bott, CEO of SEVEN Networks and Monica Paolini, President of Senza Fili Consulting among the panelists. Additional panelists will be announced shortly.

The panel discussion will explore the issues and ramifications stemming from excessive mobile signaling traffic, which stresses network resources, increases operator costs, and adversely impacts the subscriber experience.

Ross will discuss the advantages of stopping unnecessary signaling at the source – the mobile handset. Compared to other solutions that manage mobile data traffic from inside the core network – a software presence on the handset enhances network efficiency by optimizing signaling before it can impact the network.

A variety of SEVEN team members will be on hand during the entire three-day event to meet with wireless carriers and potential partners. Please be sure to email us at to schedule a meeting time with SEVEN Networks during the conference. Those interested in speaking with SEVEN Networks more informally are invited to stop by our exhibition pod on Signaling Focus Day.

If you have not yet registered for the conference, but would like to attend, we can provide promotion codes for a limited number of free (for carriers) and discounted (for partners/potential partners) conference passes. Availability is limited, so if you are interested in this offer, please contact us as soon as possible.

We hope to see you there!

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