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Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

iPhone slowing down the Internet - desperate need for 5G R&E networks

[There are several reports of how Internet traffic is being slowed down because of the huge growth in mobile data traffic from devices like the iPhone. Mobile data now exceeds mobile voice in terms of traffic volume. As I mentioned in previous blogs I think this a fantastic opportunity for research networks to demonstrate global leadership and create a new environment for innovation. Many of today’s R&E networks were originally established because of the concern of traffic volumes overwhelming the Internet at that time. The conventional thinking at that time was that we need QoS to address the shortage of bandwidth. But a few networks such as CANARIE and SURFnet pioneered a different concept of customer owned fiber networks using new high capacity DWDM equipment. This strategy was so successful that we now have enormous capacity on the R&E networks. It is time now for R&E networks to address the challenge of lack of capacity on wireless networks as well. Once again the carriers are looking at QoS and other restrictive practices. Mobile data handoff to the closest R&E network node using 802.11u is one possible approach. Once again SURFnet is the in the lead and has an active program to look at integrating their student and faculty wireless solution with their nation wide wireless network – BSA]

For more information on 5G wireless networking

Akamai reports finds slower internet due to mobile growth

South Korea's average 'Net speed plunges 24%, iPhone blamed

In the course of three months during 2009, South Korea's average Internet connection speed dropped by a dramatic 24 percent. Think about the magnitude of the decline here: one of the world's most wired countries suddenly sees its overall Internet speeds reduced by a quarter over a few months while similarly positioned countries like Sweden, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong all saw speed increases.
What happened? Blame it on the iPhone.
According to Akamai's recent State of the Internet report, South Korea's bizarre Internet slowdown can largely be traced to the introduction of the iPhone in that country in November 2009. Akamai saw an explosion of unique IP addresses associated with a particular mobile operator (apparently KT, formerly known as Korea Telecom) soon after the phone's launch, indicating broad new iPhone usage.
Unfortunately, this particular mobile provider is slow. "As the average observed connection speed for this mobile provider was a fraction of that observed from wireline connections in South Korea," says the report, "we believe that this launch was likely responsible for the significant drop in South Korea's average undeserved connection speed in the fourth quarter [of 2009]."
That's... a lot of slow iPhones (well, slow iPhone service, at least). Still, despite a massive drop in average access speeds, Korea remains number one on the worldwide list, with an average of 11.7Mbps. The US, if you were wondering, is at 22nd place with 3.8Mbps.

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