We’ve written in this blog before about what a problem chatty apps can be for carriers – overwhelming radio network infrastructure or degrading the performance of mobile data sessions.
But according to a recent four-country study, those apps are getting ever more chatty, to the point that smartphones – not users – are making the “vast majority” of the network connections.
That’s the conclusion from an article written by Kelly Hill in RCR Wireless based on a survey from Actix, a network analytics firm. The survey was based on data from eight carriers and looked mostly at 3G networks (only because 4G networks didn’t have the data volumes to be problematic – yet).
From the story: “The report…found that on 3G networks smartphones were generating data traffic 85% of the time, while only about 10% of their traffic was voice-related. Meanwhile, less than 30% of those mobile data sessions were initiated by the subscriber. Smartphones were making three to 10 data connections per hour of use, and 60% to 70% of the sessions were less than 50 kilobytes in size.”
It seems that the core network is not overly impacted by this data traffic, however the radio access network is seriously being impacted: “Overall, the report concluded that the radio access network is responsible for about 80% to 85% of poor voice quality, and data sessions in congested areas ‘often fall below video-ready speeds.’”
The problem promises to continue growing over time, as new smartphones get faster processors, additional storage and 4G network speeds. In fact, the report said that users on smartphones released within the last year generated 2.5X more traffic than phones from 2009.
These statistics back up our contention that policy enforcement and signaling optimization are best accomplished at the handset. Solutions that manage mobile data traffic from inside the core network address the problem only after half the battle has already been lost. That’s because once data traffic has reached the core network, radio network resources have already been consumed. Our Open Channel family of software products for mobile traffic management and optimization conserve radio network resources by extending control to the source of data traffic – the mobile client itself.