Operating Mobile Broadband Networks
1.1. The Challenge of Mobile Traffic Growth
The optimization of cellular network performance and the maximization of its efficiency has long been an objective of wireless network providers. Since the introduction of GSM in the late 1980s, the growth of traffic (and revenue per user) over wireless networks as the first 2G and 3G networks were deployed remained positive and relatively predictable. For those networks, voice and messaging services such as Short Message Service (SMS) and Multi-media Messaging Service (MMS) were dominating traffic. However, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the deployment of high-performance wide-area wireless packet data networks, such as 3GPP HSPA and 3GPP2 HRPD, has combined with advances in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) capability, multi-media source coding, streaming protocols and low-power high-resolution displays to deliver the so-called smartphone. This device has fundamentally changed the trajectory of traffic growth over broadband wireless networks.
In June 2010, The Nielsen Company reported (, Figure 1.1) an annual increase between Q1-2009 and Q1-2010 of 230% in average smartphone data consumption. Nielsen further reported that some users were approaching 2 GB per month in total data usage, and that the top 6% of smartphone users were consuming nearly 50% of total data bandwidth. Therefore, as more users emulate the behavior of leading ...