Storm Watch 2012: Devastating Signaling Front Ahead

There’s a potentially devastating signaling storm brewing and SEVEN Networks is on the frontlines with a new infographic depicting the breadth of the problem that plagues wireless networks across the globe.

What’s the culprit? Application chattiness! Did you know that an instant messaging application can ping the network for updates 240 times per hour or that your favorite social messaging app might request network access up to 125 times per hour? Now, if the device happens to be sleeping when these requests are made, it takes up to 30 signaling events for the device radio to wake up and get from an idle to a fully connected state where application data can be exchanged between the cloud and the application. Incredibly unruly apps can create upwards of 2,400 signaling events per hour and that’s just for a single device.

If you think about the 300 million Android devices worldwide, each averaging 35 apps per user – signaling on wireless networks could amount to 25.2 trillion events per hour worldwide!

Here are some real-life examples of how this signaling storm has affected carriers:
• More than 2.5 Million KDDI subscribers in Tokyo Japan were unable to make voice or data calls for more than 4 hours due to signaling and data congestion!
KT recently suffered network outage where one third-party app took the voice-call success rate down to 10% because the signaling traffic generated by the app overloaded its network
• Angry birds for Android (ad-based) can generate up to 2,422 signaling events in just one hour

For those of you that have followed the SEVEN Networks blog for a while, you know that the issue of network congestion is regularly discussed here. However, we understand that signaling, in its hidden and fairly insidious nature, can be a difficult issue to understand. Our hope is that the infographic will help better explain the problem and hopefully educate the industry about the devastating effects that the signaling storm will have on the quality of service carrier networks if something is not done soon.

Data for the infographic comes from lab tests performed using SEVEN Open Channel, our wireless traffic optimization solution designed to reduce unnecessary signaling by only connecting to the network if updates are available. The solution has been shown to reduce the amount of smartphone-generated signaling by as much as 40%, and bandwidth by up to 70%.

Help us spread the word by sharing the infographic and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

About Isabelle Dumont

Head of Marketing at SEVEN Networks
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2 Responses to Storm Watch 2012: Devastating Signaling Front Ahead

  1. Abdullah says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    My Life has become a living hell due to Extreme Increase of Signaling Storms on the Network I am working. It has become a nightmare, We tried everything,Cell -PCH to Expansion, but the signaling surge never continues to halt. Today we fix something, tomorrow it comes back.

    We can’t continue in this state, 3GPP must take a lead and develop new technologies to make a halt to this Tsunami of Signaling. ETSI & European Organizations should enforce the complete Industry especially SmartPhone Vendors and App’s Developers to work on this issue and develop real effective solutions.

    If the Industry can’t take bold decisions now, I am afraid the Networks will continue to suffer in a disastrous way.

    • SEVEN might be able to help you: our traffic optimization solution, Open Channel, eliminates a lot of the unnecessary signaling generated by chatty mobile apps that keep requesting access to the network while no new content needs to be delivered to the device. Open Channel not only eliminates the related signaling but also the unnecessary data consumed by mobile apps running in the background while your smartphone is in your pocket.

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