Monitoring the LTE Traffic Explosion
With the explosion of wireless devices in the industry, carriers are gearing up for what is sure to be a massive growth in wireless data. The majority of carriers in North America are now selling almost 3 smart phones for every “regular” phone. This represents a shift in the industry, as more and more consumers are looking to have content delivered to their phone and use their phone as more than just a way to “call home.”
As studies have shown, users have more than doubled their wireless usage from 2009 to 2010 and Cisco has estimated that from 2009 to 2015, consumers will grow their consumption by 16 times. With this growth comes the need for carriers to increase the size of the links to their cell towers, especially with the launch of LTE, where users are experiencing download speeds in excess of 20 MB/sec. A carrier’s ethernet backhaul network will play a crucial role in providing these speeds to the consumers. As such, most carriers are rolling out Ethernet to the tower to provide more capacity as close to the mobile user as possible. Not only does this consume a lot of core capacity on the carriers’ networks, but it also requires the carriers to have an abundance of spectrum to push this data to the consumer devices.
Spectrum is Oxygen
While attending the International CTIA Wireless conference this year, it was apparent that spectrum is the key for carriers to continue delivering these fast speeds to the consumers.
Dan Hesse, the CEO of Sprint Nextel Corporation said, “Spectrum is also the oxygen that gives our industry life and growth, but we are running out of oxygen.” Those are certainly some powerful words from Mr. Hesse and were further supported by Julius Genachowski, Commission Chairman of the FCC, as he spoke about how the United States needs to free up more spectrum for carriers to use. The FCC is working to free up new blocks of spectrum for carriers to buy at auction, enabling the carriers to continue feeding the growing consumers demand for faster mobile access. Buying spectrum through the FCC isn’t the only way to acquire it, as it was announced the weekend before CTIA kicked off that AT&T intends to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion in cash and stock. The buzz around the conference was about AT&T buying T-Mobile for their spectrum as well as their assets to deliver faster speeds across a wider area of the country to their consumers.
Visibility is Sustenance
As the mobile wireless market continues to evolve, there will undoubtedly be changes that no one sees coming. Five years ago, did consumers really think they would be able to make a video call from their handset or watch a streaming HD movie on their mobile telephone? Who knows what is in store for the mobile industry five years from now, but if it is anything like the last five years, put your seatbelt on, it’s going to be a wild and fast ride to the future!
So what does all this mean for your carrier or metro Ethernet backhaul network, and your LTE network rollout? As the mobile device turns into a primary and fully functioning communications, productivity and entertainment platform, dropped calls, unreliable connections and slow or intermittent data service will not be tolerated.
The launch of LTE requires a new network performance management solution with linear scalability and speed at scale – there are enough unknowns already without having real-time, end-to-end, network performance visibility. With SevOne monitoring their network, carriers and CSPs can be confident that as they move forward with new technologies like LTE, any metric from any device can be collected and monitored.
Matt Goldberg is a SevOne Systems Engineer and (self-proclaimed) Marketeer.