Thursday, November 18, 2010

3G And WiFi Can Work Together To Ease Mobile Network Congestion

The abstract idea seems pretty simple. Whenever possible try to offload traffic to any available WiFi network. Easier said than done of course. And if there is no available WiFi – Wiffler uses what the researches have dubbed as “prediction based offloading” which determines when it is likely to be within range from a WiFi hotspot. If this period is less than an acceptable maximum delay period it waits, otherwise it uses the available 3G network. Not all data applications can appreciate this behaviour though – VoIP applications certainly cannot be used in this manner. But something like a mailbox sync wouldn’t really suffer with a small delay.  According to Mahajan, they were able offload data within a delay period of 1 minute.

This concept is further extended to ensure that when both are available simultaneously Wiffler divides the data between the 2 networks. It could result in substantial cost savings for the customer and network decongestion for a carrier. However, I wonder how thrilled they would be given that customer saving translates into less earnings!

For the purpose of the study, they used only Free Public WiFi networks – it remains to be seen how the concept would hold up when it encounters commercially charged and encrypted WiFi’s. Honestly, I hope it doesn’t rely on the Wifi networks being open because in the face of the Firesheep incident people should, and those in the know certainly would, think twice about using unsecured wireless networks. But if they are lucky, and the FCC is able to make good on their “WiFi on Steroids” promise it could certainly revolutionize data consumption on-the-go!

The great thing from our point of view is that even though we are yet to go anywhere near facing the problem of 3G network congestion – a possible solution is already in the works!

Let us know what you think.

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Categories: International, Mobile, News, Technology
Tags: 3G, Arun Venkataramani, Aruna Balasubramanian, Augmenting Mobile 3G Using WiFi, data usage, fcc, india, Network Congestion, prediction based offloading, Ratul Mahajan, researchers, traffic, White spectrum, Wiffler, wifi, wifi hotspot, Wifi on Steroids

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