Streaming video is an application that is experiencing strong growth from mobile users, but it can cause significant downstream congestion when downloading takes place at the maximum possible bandwidth.
It is often assumed that to achieve appropriate levels of customer satisfaction for streaming video it is essential to maintain maximum download rates at all times. However, independent experiments undertaken by GoS Networks have shown that customer experience is actually unaffected if the maximum download rate is constrained to about 1.25x the rate of consumption. Since the maximum download rate can be anything up to 16 times the minimum required, this represents a substantial saving. A typical streaming rate is 440kbps, so 660kbps is more than adequate to prevent playout pauses. Restricting a video download to this rate – rather than the full HSDPA rate of 7.2Mbps – reduces the peak bandwidth consumed by video downloads by a factor of more than 10.
Estimates by Cisco and others suggest that half of all traffic in mobile networks is derived from video delivered to mobile broadband clients, so applying GoS in this case could reduce the overall peak by nearly 50%, which is equivalent to 9.5 months traffic growth at current rates, estimated at 108% CAGR (Cisco, 2010).
For MNOs faced with pressure on CAPEX budgets, being able to gracefully manage network enhancements and plan with more granularity can be a significant benefit. This can be achieved by deploying GoS in mobile devices and dongles to actively manage download services by restricting download rates while ensuring fair access to available services and resources.
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