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Airvana finds "load multiplier effect" caused by smartphone data traffic
Posted: 14-Oct-2009 [Source: Airvana]

[Airvana engineers comparing data use profiles found that for a given volume of data transmitted, one smartphone typically generates eight times the network signaling load of a USB modem-equipped laptop]

Chelmsford,MA -- - Airvana, Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRV - News), the company transforming the mobile experience, has identified a significant mobile network "load multiplier effect" caused by smartphone data traffic on the macro-cellular network. Airvana engineers comparing data use profiles found that for a given volume of data transmitted, one smartphone typically generates eight times the network signaling load of a USB modem-equipped laptop. Although smartphones may only account for a minority percentage of all devices on operator networks today, they are always on, moving between cell sites and continually 'polling' the network. As a result, smartphones are already responsible for the majority -- two to three times as much as laptops -- of the total signaling activity. Related Quotes Symbol Price Change AIRV 6.62 0.00 Chart for Airvana, Inc. {"s" : "airv","k" : "c10,l10,p20,t10","o" : "","j" : ""}

For operators already concerned by the volume of data traffic generated by laptop users, this signaling load multiplier effect from smartphones highlights the urgent need for improved and alternative mobile data processing and off-load strategies. The "surge in wireless data and looming spectrum crisis" happening across the industry was highlighted last week by the head of the FCC in the U.S., Janus Genachowski speaking at the CTIA show in San Diego. Mr. Genachowski identified a 10-fold gap in data demanded vs. spectrum available in the foreseeable future and went on to say, "the needed bandwidth must come from multiple places, including promising new technologies like smart antennas and femtocells."

Global annual shipments of smartphone handsets are projected to increase from nearly 200 million in 2009 to 450 million in 2013, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp. In the U.S., AT&T recently reported that smartphone penetration in their postpaid subscriber base has doubled to 36 percent and Verizon reported that 40 percent of their handsets sold in Q2 2009 were smartphones. Similarly in Western Europe, industry analyst IDC recently reported 25 percent growth in sales of smartphones in Q2 2009 compared to Q2 2008. As smartphones also continue to grow in functionality and performance, coupled with growing acceptance of unlimited data plans, data usage on smartphones is poised to grow even faster than today's rates. Such rapid growth, combined with the load multiplier effect, highlights the real potential for significant strain on networks as the mobile broadband market moves from the portability of laptops to the true mobility of smartphones.

"Conventional wisdom has been that data traffic produced by laptops equipped with mobile broadband was the culprit when looking at the impact on the network," said David Nowicki, vice president, Marketing and Product Management, Airvana. "The industry is just now beginning to understand the real impact of smartphones on network performance and we're finding that their effect is distinctly out of proportion to the amount of data they transmit and receive. It's now estimated that nearly 60 percent of all mobile data traffic originates indoors -- one of the key reasons that operators are increasingly introducing femtocell strategies to offload traffic. That approach, together with our mobile broadband-optimized base station software and advanced, high performance radio network controllers, provides operators with options for mitigating the impact of the smartphone load multiplier."

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