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Are mobile network operators ready for the inevitable data storm coming from the 10 billion devices expected to run bandwidth-hungry premium services? Can operators keep subscribers happy with today’s growing network congestion problems?
There is a way operators can attempt to achieve network congestion relief without spending tens of millions on new infrastructure.
I recently attended the Wi-Fi Global Congress, a conference in London put on by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). The focus was promoting and enabling carrier-grade Wi-Fi that is secure, seamless, and interoperable between networks. It was clear from the conference program, and the large number of wireless service and equipment providers in attendance, that Wi-Fi remains a highly relevant, complementary extension to cellular networks and an important part of the mobile broadband experience. However, many challenges remain with Wi-Fi, including seamless handover between 3G/4G and Wi-Fi, subscriber management, policy enforcement, session mobility, and more.
Last weekend, I went to the grand opening of a restaurant. On the menu, I noticed a bottle of wine that had previously been recommended by a friend, who happens to work at a winery. Having enjoyed her suggestions before, I was eager to try this one, too. As they often do when you buy a bottle, the waiter opened it and poured a sampling into my glass. I swirled it around in my glass and eagerly took a sip. It was ... terrible. The wine tasted like vinegar, probably because of a bad cork.
The latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecasts a 13-fold increase of mobile data traffic between 2012 and 2017. The report also predicts a significant increase in data offload to Wi-Fi as operators deal with the network stress associated with this traffic.