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Combating Network Congestion:

An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

All over the world, wireless broadband has become part of users lifestyle they rely on it for both work and play. The increase and persistence of this trend has created a tremendous data growth which risks congesting cellular networks. This application note discusses the impact of network congestion and how Operators can overcome it.


Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

Wireless Broadband, The Way of Life

Wireless broadband has become part of everyday life. Users rely on wireless broadband technologies such as 3G, HSPA and WiMAX for both work and play. Meanwhile, Mobile Network Operators (MNO) are incorporating Internet services that complement users lifestyles, further aming the Mobile Internet craze and increasing data usage. Here are some reasons that fuel data growth: a. Broad adoption of data services by users, especially on unlimited data plans that encourage use. b. Saturation of wireless broadband USB modems and datacards that promote the usage of Mobile Internet. c. Wide variety of smartphones such as the iPhone and Android-based phones which allow users surf the Internet while on the go. d. Availability of attractive data applications and services, for example, YouTube, Facebook, IM, Mobile TV, location-based services and thousands of downloadable applications.
o n of Saturati s les Wire nd Broadba ode ms M Broad f option o Ad Services Data

Wide ariety of V one Smartph

w th Data Gro ctors Fa

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The Impact Network Congestion

While the escalating wireless broadband penetration is to be applauded, on the adverse its brewing a worrying trend. The steep surge of data consumption, if unaddressed, can cause a catastrophe for MNOs - network congestion. With mobile data traf c expected to grow tremendously, network congestion is a erce battle Operators need to ght to keep their users happy. According to the Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traf c Forecast, overall data traf c is expected double every year from 2008 onwards and video will be responsible for the growth of traf c, as shown in Figure 1 (next page).


Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update Whitepaper, January 2009
AGR 200 8-2013

2,500,000 2,000,000

131% C

TB per month

D at a P2P Vi de o

1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000

Au di o







Figure 1: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast

Why Network Congestion is Bad for Operators?

Decline in User Experience
One of the major consequences of network congestion is the decline in user experience. For users, network congestion is translated into unstable Internet connection and slow download/delayed interaction. As a result, users are less productive and frustrated.

The Need to Step Up CRM Efforts

Frustrated users will ultimately go in search for an alternate service provider, leading to customer churn. Hence, the CRM Department needs to step up efforts to divert users from their disillusion and offer attractive rewards to keep users loyal. Simultaneously, marketing initiatives have to be increased to draw new subscribers and make up for the loss of existing ones.

Outpaced Revenue Growth

Increase in data consumption does not result in a corresponding increase in revenue and Operators have observed this problem. Experts estimate that in the next 5 years, there will be a 100 fold growth of aggregate data compared to twice the growth of revenue. This growth in data consumption is re ected in Operators measurements as well as analysts forecasts as shown in Figure 2 (next page).


Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

Source: Edited from Cisco, from Operators network data and Analysts, 2008; Informa, 2008; and Pyramid, Mobile data revenue will double by 2012, Dan Locke, Analyst Insight, 4/2008.
1400 1200 1000

PB per month

800 600 400 200

Fo r


10 s t:


Ag g


eD gat

at a


w th

Forecast: 2X Revenue Grow

2008 2009 2010 2011


Figure 2: Data Growth vs. Revenue Growth

What are the Available Alternatives?

The conventional solution to this problem is to upgrade existing infrastructure which is expensive and time consuming. For example, recently Maxis Communications, Malaysia announced a RM 1.6 billion (USD 460 million) investment for infrastructure upgrade (refer to Figure 3).
Source: Business Times, 12th September 2009.

Figure 3: Maxis Communications, Malaysia announces a USD 460 million network infrastructure upgrade.

Data Ofoading The Preferred Solution

There is good news. Of late, discussions in the industry are skewed towards alternative options which are more immediate and cost-effective. One of the potential ways forward is to of oad data traf c from cellular networks such as 3G/HSPA to freer networks such as WiFi or even WiMAX.

Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

Green Packets Data Ofoading Solution for Operators

Various industry players have proposed different models to of oad data traf c. These range from network bundling programs and secondary infrastructure such as femtocells. However, these options may be dif cult hills to climb due to interdependent factors which include con icting network standards, lengthy partnership negotiations and high initial (setup) costs.

Connection Management Platform (ICMP) The Ideal Solution

One the proposed model to of oad traf c is through connection managers, such as Green Packets Intouch Connection Management Platform (ICMP). ICMP is an easy-to-use, single-client connection management solution, innovatively conceptualized from the Mobile IP technology. Mobile IP, an IETF standard communications protocol, is designed to allow mobile device users to move from one network to another while maintaining their permanent (single) IP address. With the provision of a single IP address, users are able the stay connected even while switching networks. We call this feature Seamless Mobility users enjoy a meaningful connectivity experience while on the move, without interruption to the current connectivity session. ICMP is based on a client-server architecture model, where the client component is installed on users mobile devices (both laptops and handhelds).

How ICMP Facilitates Data Ofoading?

Today, cellular networks are used to support both voice and data services. A large chunk of network bandwidth is exhausted to support data services such as SMS, email, Internet browsing, video and audio streaming and le downloads. However, these services need not be delivered via cellular networks such as 3G or HSPA which are not optimized to support data services. Hence, cellular networks easily face congestion.


Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

With its Seamless Mobility advantage, ICMP doubles up as a cost-effective, hassle-free and immediate data of oading tool. Based on preset pro les, Operators can determine the priority of network connection corresponding to the surrounding environment. Hence, ICMP intelligently monitors the network environment - if it detects that a user is using data services on a cellular network (such as 3G) and there is less congested network (such as WiFi, WiMAX, DSL) available in the same vicinity, ICMP transfers the user from 3G to WiFi without interruption to connectivity, as shown in Figure 4 below. As a result the cellular network is freed to support core services such as SMS and voice and data services are transferred to more cost-effective networks. As a result, users enjoy better connectivity experience regardless the network they are connected to.

Without ICMP
Cellular Network

Internet Subscribers 3G Base Station

Both voice and data services rely on cellular network to get connected to the Internet

Intouch Connection Management Platform Cellular Network



3G Base Station

DSL Network (home/of ce)

Other Networks

Data services are offloaded to other network which are less prone to congestion

Figure 4: With ICMP, data services are offloaded to freer networks


Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

A Simulation on How Operators Can Use ICMP to Ofoad Data Trafc

A simulation was conducted on a real 3G network model, with a network cell capacity of 30MB and WiFi co-exists to support the of oading. Half the mobile devices within this network cell were installed with ICMP. Mobile traf c within the network cell reached a congestion level at 92% bandwidth utilization the traf c breakdown is shown below:
Stage 1 Actual Network Cell Trafc Utilization
Streaming - 31%

3G Network Cell Bandwidth

Browsing - 19% Voice Calls - 27% MMS/SMS - 10% P2P - 5%

At this stage, a) streaming and browsing activities were 40% slower b) 20% of voice calls dropped c) MMS/SMS faced a delay of more than 24 hours

Stage 2 Data Ofoading with ICMP

Streaming - 24%

WiFi Bandwidth

Browsing - 19% P2P - 8%

Data traf c from the 3G network cell was of oaded to the WiFi network which was currently at 51% bandwidth utilization.

Stage 3 Reduction in 3G Network Cell Bandwidth

From the data of oading exercise, data traf c from 3G network cell for mobile devices installed with ICMP was transferred to the WiFi network, the diagram below illustrated the bandwidth utilization of both networks post data of oad.
Streaming - 16% Browsing - 9% Streaming - 39%

3G Network Cell Bandwidth

Voice Calls - 27% MMS/SMS - 10% P2P - 2%

WiFi Bandwidth

Browsing - 29% P2P - 11%

Total bandwidth utilization = 64%

Total bandwidth utilization = 79%

Conclusion: The 3G network cell bene ted from a 28% reduction in traf c, resulting in improved streaming and browsing speed, no dropped voice calls and no delay in MMS/SMS.
Disclaimer: The findings above are a result of a simulation exercise and may differ in real life due to network conditions, environment, location and availability of auxiliary services.


Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

Multi OS and Device Support

Mobile IP technology, upon which ICMP is built, works at the IP layer of network protocols and hence it is device and OS independent. This gives Operators the advantage to extend ICMP to all subscribers, a comprehensive data-of oading solution.

How Operators Benet from ICMP?

Improved Service Quality
By of oading data traf c to WiFi which is less congested, users enjoy improved connectivity service network connection is stable and faster download time. At the same time, precious bandwidth space on congested-prone networks are freed to provide good voice services.

Customer Retention
With improved service quality, users stay happy and remain loyal to their existing service provider. Meanwhile, this saves Operators from having to invest in heavy CRM and Marketing efforts to prevent churn. Instead resources can be effectively utilized to attract new subscribers.


Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

Optimization of Current Infrastructure

With ICMP, Operators stay in control of bandwidth utilization and are able to of oad data traf c to freer networks where possible. This enables Operators who own cellular networks (which are congestion prone) to optimize the use of current infrastructure and prevent expensive infrastructure upgrades to support the growing subscriber base.

Cost-effective Solution
ICMP works on a client-server architecture model which is a cheaper alternative as the client component is license-driven and supports the entire subscriber base. Every additional user merely requires an additional license. Other the other hand, other alternatives such as femtocells are limited by location and the number of users it can support. Hence, as users increase in a particular location, Operators need to install more femtocells to prevent network congestion.

Embark on the Ofoading Journey Today

Operators around the world have selected connection managers as their ideal solution of network congestion and PCCW is one such example. PCCW is Hong Kongs leading telecommunications provider, offering one of the largest commercial IPTV deployments in the world today over its 3G network, with a household penetration of 40%. As a result of this, PCCWs 3G networks faced a high risk of network congestion. PCCW opted for the immediate and cost-effective approach by using Green Packets ICMP to seamlessly of oad data traf c from its 3G/HSDPA networks to WiFi hotspots thus improving bandwidth utilization for better user experience.

Free Consultation!
If you would like a free consultation on how to combat network congestion, contact us at marketing.gp@greenpacket.com (kindly quote the reference code AN0909 when you contact us).


Combating Network Congestion: An Immediate & Cost-Effective Approach

About Green Packet

Green Packet Solutions, part of the Green Packet Berhad group of companies, is a leading developer of Next Generation Mobile Broadband and Networking Solutions. Our mission is to provide seamless and uni ed platforms for the delivery of user-centric multimedia communications services regardless of the nature and availability of backbone infrastructures. Founded in San Franciscos Silicon Valley in 2000, Green Packet Solutions has expanded its global footprint to Kuala Lumpur (Headquarters), Singapore, Shanghai, Taiwan, Australia, Bahrain and Bangkok. Green Packet Solutions empowers Operators to improve ARPU via leading edge carrier-grade connectivity solutions, content delivery platforms and interoperability-tested WiMAX Modems. Green Packet Solutions products offer best-in-class performance and are of the highest quality, ensuring our customers are ALWAYS BEST CONNECTED! With R&D centres located in USA, Shanghai and Taiwan, we are on the edge of new developments in 4G (particularly WiMAX and LTE), as well as software advancement. Green Packet Solutions presence around the world shouts our global capabilities and localization abilities. Furthermore, fellow symbiotic players can leverage on Green Packet Solutions strategic alliances in the telecommunications industry to strengthen ones stake in the ecosystem. For more information, visit www.greenpacket.com

Sales & Marketing Contact For further inquiries on Green Packets Intouch Connection Management Platform or other products and solutions we offer, contact us at marketing.gp@greenpacket.com.

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