On the wired Internet, the boom in demand for social media, video, audio, games and other Web 2.0 services has resulted in significant network congestion and slow download times. Content delivery networks (CDNs) became the way that content developers could improve the transport performance of this content. Now, with the mass adoption of smpartphones and the resulting data surge, wireless networks are in dire need of a solution to manage data transport. Although technical and market issues have made it unclear if mobile CDNs will be an option, a number of solutions have emerged to combat this problem for wireless networks.
One solution, fast dormancy, allows mobile devices to return to an idle state faster, which saves signaling channels and improves battery life, but fails to address the constant connection paradigm of chatty applications. Another solution, increasing the amount of bandwidth with 4G network upgrades addresses the need for ‘bigger pipes’ to transport more data, but it does not take into account the type of data being shared. And finally, offloading traffic to other networks such as WiFi, is still limited to specific use cases where a WiFi network is both available and secure, and these networks are not yet deployed broadly and in a way that is transparent to consumers.
While these methods demonstrate limited solutions for the mobile Internet problem, none of them have tackled the optimization of the entire mobile content delivery system including end-user behavior, the application, the device, the network and the back-end application systems. Traffic optimization, though, is an emerging solution that does address this whole ecosystem. Traffic optimization rethinks scaling mobile for the Internet by truly reshaping and coordinating the interaction between the device and the network in an effective way: optimizing all applications rather than addressing the challenge one application at a time or one type of content at a time.
Early tests with our Open Channel traffic optimization solution show that by eliminating unnecessary data requests from smartphone apps it can reduce the time the device is on the network by 40 percent without impacting the user experience or requiring any changes or application specific integration or development. This translates into a data traffic reduction of up to 70 percent and an increase in battery life by up to 25 percent without application or network changes.
Just as CDNs improved the way that consumers share and receive data on wireline networks, traffic optimization is helping wireless operators to manage content to provide a better overall mobile experience. Traffic optimization has the potential to change the economics of the mobile industry, enabling operators to not only keep pace with the explosion of data traffic and maintain the quality of service their brand is known for, but also enabling them to support more smartphone users on the same network infrastructure and improve their margins on data.