Mobilize: Don't Neglect the Network


JDD090910-mobilize-D71_3005It’s a less glamorous topic than the flashy unveiling of Motorola’s first Android phone, the Cliq, but the reality behind what makes devices like the Cliq possible is the high-speed network that connects it. Rick Keith, senior director of Strategy for Broadband Access Solutions at Motorola, who sat on a panel discussing high-speed networks at our Mobilize conference following the Cliq unveiling, went as far as to call his panel “like following up Madonna.” However, he pointed out, the network is doing the heavy lifting and will be a chief driver of innovation and new services.

Chetan Sharma, president of Chetan Sharma Consulting, pointed out that ubiquitous high-speed broadband, which could one day offer speeds like 50 megabits everywhere, will be driven by browsing, peer-to-peer networks and video. As Om has said before, consumers have an insatiable appetite for bandwidth, and if the networks are available, consumers will find ways to use it and developers will create innovative services to fill it. At those kind of “ultraband” speeds, “everything that can be connected will be connected,” said Ken Denman, CEO of Openwave Systems. “We’re at a state where you put a cell phone base station anywhere, and it gets filled up.”

All of that bandwidth will require a whole lot of capital — billions and billions of dollars, said Abhi Ingle, VP for Industry and Mobility Application Systems for AT&T. The kinds of networks needed for that level of bandwidth are not a commodity that are lying around somewhere, Ingle said. It will be very expensive.

Of course, high-speed ubiquitous broadband won’t come from one big network. Ultraband will require both wired and wireless networks and different standards and technologies like Wi-Fi, WiMAX, cellular, Ethernet, and so on. But blending all these networks seamlessly should be the objective, emphasized the panel. “The user doesn’t care what network they use,” said Motorola’s Keith. AT&T’s Ingle said the telecom company is focusing on blending together a hybrid of networks to offer this seamless type of service.


Ken Denman

A good discussion, though never enough time to click down on the many relevant topics. In general, agreement on an all IP, converged world, where bandwidth remains scarce…and from my perspect, importance of elegant software for leverage and increasingly wonderful user experience will be key!

Adrian Hall

Historically, consumer demand has always exceeded available bandwidth. This has happened in every phase of the evolution of network technology – from 2G to 2.5G to 3G – and it will happen from 3G to 4G as well. Most operators are already planning for the deployment of next-generation networks. It will be critical to ensure that their networks are prepared to handle the surge in data usage that they themselves have helped to create, thereby protecting their infrastructure investment and delivering a consistently superior user experience. Intelligent traffic management and optimization will enable operators to manage both the increase in volume changing mix of traffic in HSPA and LTE networks so that performance and capacity can be scaled ahead of demand. These capabilities will enable them to minimize risk and ensure that their ROI in LTE is maximized in terms of capacity, performance and cost savings over the life of the network.

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