A whopping three-quarters of wireless-service subscribers aren't getting the data speeds they want during peak times in busy locations, a new study has uncovered.
U.K.-based Actix, which specializes in mobile network analytics and optimization, analyzed a 3G network in an unnamed major city, discovering hotspots of demand from smartphones at train and bus stations generate up to 100 times more network load than immediately adjacent areas.
Such network overload creates a range of issues for users at critical times, as local cells receive more than 10,000 connection attempts in a single hour. This load effectively drops data speeds by 95 percent, impacting not only bandwidth intensive video services, but also more mundane activities such as Web browsing.
“These highly localized hotspots are the new norm for operators and they’re having a substantial negative effect on subscribers," said Bill McHale, Actix CEO. “It’s a problem not just limited to transport hubs, but also central business districts, tourist centers and the locations for major conventions and sporting events."
“Policy control can help but these findings demonstrate that in heavily congested areas this won’t be enough. Operators will need to adopt multiple strategies," said Actix CTO Richard Kateley. “In the short term, optimization solutions ... can help operators shift load to adjacent cells. In the long term, operators first need to fully understand where each hotspot is and how much traffic originates there. Then they can decide whether to increase RAN capacity, deploy small cells or look at alternative offload solutions."