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May 21, 2015

Smart cars could crash mobile networks with data surges

Data produced during rush hour is set to double mobile network cell usage within a decade.

By

Smart connected cars will be responsible for an increase of up to 97% in data traffic during rush hour traffic at some cell points, highlighting just one of the possible implications set to hit mobile network operators over the next ten years.

Forecasters predict that by 2024 there will be 2.3 billion M2M connections worldwide, up from 250 million last year. Still, M2M and application services will only count for 4% of overall network traffic in the same timeframe.

According to Machina Research operators, they must focus on dynamic network management and RAN optimisation to answer the demand.

They should also support greater diversity in access networks, develop more sophisticated planning tools, increase their focus on device management and a more considered approach to spectrum re-farming.

Matt Hatton, CEO at Machina Research said: "Connected cars, as with other M2M devices, don’t behave like smartphones. They represent a very diverse set of challenges to operators through highly varying network traffic patterns at different times of the day.

"In terms of overall data volumes, connected cars don’t present much of a problem. But network resource management is not based on total traffic volume, it’s based on particular cell sites during peak times of network use. If connected cars regularly cause network traffic spikes in a particular location that can’t be met, there are implications for operators in meeting SLAs and delivering a positive quality of experience."

Steve Bowker, VP Technology and Strategy at TEOCO said: "The connected car is just one of many M2M use cases that will put new and unusual demands on network usage that mobile operators will need to resolve.

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"In all cases, operators will need to identify where and when the network traffic is generated, measure the volume, and analyse the type of traffic as well. They will need to more seriously consider how to cope with these demands for reduced latency, higher bandwidth, more signalling and higher QoS. This requires a more sophisticated and comprehensive approach to mobile network planning."

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