Mobile World Congress Preview - Expect Mobile Backhaul

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

Mobile World Congress Preview - Expect Mobile Backhaul

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In just two weeks, the key global wireless show will be upon us.  Let’s hope the weather holds out and it looks like the picture below, as opposed to last year when it actually snowed for a bit.

Every year, I have an expectation of what I might see at the show.  Even with that though, there are usually a few surprises.  Like last year, companies were messaging Femtocells and attaching their marketing to Femtocells, even though to me what they did wasn’t that adjacent to Femtocells.  It was a little crazy to me.  But, hey, I noticed!

So what about this year?  Well, I expect of course to see much more about LTE given deployments have started.  And of course we’ll see people messaging tablets and app stores, and apps stores for tablets.  But what about some newer messages?

One thing I expect to see is much more about Mobile Advertising.  I’ve written about that in the past quite a few times and so I’ll pass on that now.  

But the other concept I expect to see more about relates to the networks reaching their capacity limits.  As mobile data becomes more prevalent, we have seen and will continue to see bandwidth issues in terms of poor performance, or not even being able to get onto the internet with your mobile phone.  This is real since a lot of money is at stake here.

So I expect to see themes relating to how we can resolve this.  In my view, there are three major ways to resolve these bandwidth issues, all of which will play a role.  First of all, you can increase the bandwidth – 3G HSUPA and then LTE helps with this.  Also WiFi offload helps with this and you see wireless companies in the United States and other countries encouraging this.  A second way to resolve this is to increase coverage by adding more towers.  And finally, a third way is to be more efficient, which includes pricing plans that charge more for those that use more, and also putting backhaul bandwidth optimized solutions into the network, so that the data coming through is optimized in the best way. 

With the way networks are built today, the “backhaul” from the cell tower to the IP network becomes a big bottleneck.  With the mobile data network on the rise, this becomes a serious bottleneck.  So platforms such as bandwidth optimized gateways to handle the backhaul from the cell towers to the IP networks can play a key role.

I expect this bandwidth optimization theme, among the others I noted above, to come through loud and clear at Mobile World Congress.  I’m sure I will also be surprised at one or two things though!

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