Originally posted on Gigaom:
Yes, 4G and LTE networks are huge improvements over previous-generation mobile networks, but they’re not about to cure mobile-data woes without some smart development to help them. Speaking at GigaOM Mobilize on Thursday, Aspera’s Serban Simu and Akamai’s (s akam) Kris Alexander espoused the value of both intelligent network design and intelligent app designers to begin with.
The problem with transferring large files such as movies over mobile networks really boils down to distance and congestion. As Alexander explained, even a 300-kilobit web site can take a long time to load because it might involve 30 different requests that each must make the roundtrip from phone to mobile network to the internet and back. Right now, he said, web pages for major companies that take 3 seconds to load over the web take 9 seconds to load on a mobile device, which is a huge problem if companies don’t want users abandoning their sites.
Aspera’s Simu pointed to congestion as a major inhibitor of rich mobile experiences. Although 4G networks can boost performance of his company’s file-transfer tool by three to four times over 3G networks, Simu said, it’s a volatile medium on which performance is inconsistent, in large part because a network can become congested in just fractions of a second.