A recent news article in the New York Times reported on the growing divide between those who consume and generate the majority of data traffic. According to the report, 1% of users generate half of all traffic, while 10% consume 90% of resources.
This isn’t surprising. Despite the phenomenal growth of smartphone sales, there remain many users who do not consume more advanced data services. What’s interesting is that, later in the article is the comment that mobile operators are turning to alternative access technology in order to ease the burden on their networks.
To take this further, it would make sense for mobile operators to introduce the capability to selectively move traffic between available access paths automatically in order to alleviate network congestion in the core. By monitoring application consumption in the user device – whether a dongle or a handset – mobile operators could make real-time decisions about how to route traffic based on its demands and the available access paths.
This process depends on the ability to monitor and control the bandwidth consumption and demand in user devices in real-time, allowing dynamic traffic routing to take place on the basis of the application and resources available. Currently, mobile operators are unable to do this because they lack visibility of the applications in the user device.
But by deploying appropriate software on user devices, they would be able to make real-time decisions which would help relieve network strain and, more importantly, optimise the user experience. With control mechanisms that are fully integrated into a policy-enabled network, they could ensure that heavy users obtain the resources they need without affecting the needs of others.
And, what’s more, they could target such capabilities towards known heavy users. Bandwidth control need not be limiting – far from it: it’s an opportunity to provide a much-needed service – but must be tightly integrated with both billing and customer management solutions in order to ensure effective user adoption.