The Emperor Has No Clothes: Is Throttling Inevitable as Many Suggest Or Are We Just Missing the Bigger Picture?
By now you probably know that Verizon wireless has begun putting caps on video streaming applications such as Netflix and others (read The Verge article here outlining the changes). When we called the provider to ask, the sales agent was very quick to correct us when we used the word “throttle” and told us that it wasn’t at all throttling but instead “prioritization” of traffic based on the subscription plan of the user.
We discussed the comparison of how toll-based HOV lanes work when we’re driving: during rush hour, when the highway lanes become very congested, drivers who pay a premium (in the form of a toll charge) get access to the faster HOV lane, while those who choose not to pay stay in the “regular lanes” and experience slower speeds.
Mashable wrote an article (read here) in which the author suggests that Verizon’s throttling is a “necessary evil” because they either do this, or they limit the size of their network, and after all “Verizon is a business, not a data charity,” as he states. Technically that’s correct, and the more people on any given mobile network all streaming HD-quality content at the same time, the worse everyone's experiences becomes because the pipes are only so wide. But what if that didn’t have to be the case? What if there was an entire network, twice the size of the cellular network just sitting mostly empty that users could use to stream video and other applications at the faster speeds they want? And what if that super big, super-fast network already existed… Well, the beauty is, it’s already here!
Wi-Fi First and the Power of Convergence
Carnegie Technologies has been working for several years developing and rolling out its Network Convergence Platform to leverage the power of multiple networks to make the user experience better and more cost effective for everyone. The speed of traffic on Wi-Fi is three-times faster than on cell networks today, and that gap will likely widen as time goes by, even with 5G rolling out in limited parts of the world. Wi-Fi carries more than half of all Internet traffic as it is, so why not make use of all of those available Wi-Fi networks to mobile users as they move about their day? And with an estimated 541.6 million public Wi-Fi-venues in use by 2021 (that’s more than HALF A BILLION networks), the user experience will only get better as the power of these networks are converged and traffic is moved to the best available network.
When networks are aggregated, not only do speeds and reliability increase, but efficiencies do as well. Bandwidth Aggregation allows providers to determine what and when traffic gets moved between networks and can prioritize cheaper networks, only incrementally adding more networks if it’s necessary for things like video streaming.
When users can move between Wi-Fi networks and cellular networks seamlessly and transparently and providers can better choose what traffic runs where, it’s a beautiful thing for everyone involved: faster speeds, better reliability and lower costs.
Carnegie’s Network Convergence Platform, including Bandwidth Aggregation and True Gapless Handover™ does that today with an ease and simplicity that makes it affordable and accessible to not just the largest providers but to regional operators as well. Application developers and content providers can even use Carnegie’s SDK to implement bandwidth aggregation into their offerings without special permissions from operators. We’re screaming “The Emperor Has No Clothes” on this “necessary evil” because we know the power of network convergence: that multiple networks are better than one, and allowing mobile devices to make use of as many as possible only makes sense for the industry at large as well as for customers.