Wednesday, August 27, 2014

3G and 4G are not about Video only........

Hi Friends, 

When we talk about the technologies like 3G and 4G the first thing that comes in to our minds, especially in India, is the way we would be able to watch videos online. While, online video watching definitely is one of the key factors of 3G and 4G, however this is not the only aspect and for which there needs to be a deep introspection of what kinds of services can actually be expected to improve in the 3G and 4G Scenario. The marketing of these technologies often speak about the "No Buffering" experience, which is good enough, however is that the only thing that 3G and 4G propound of is questionable. 

Let us see some of the services that are actually not very focused in the 3G and 4G scene but can make a lot of difference.
File Sharing by P2P and HTTP
1. File Sharing: We have heard this a number of times and also used this but never actually weighed this in the context of 3G and 4G services. File Sharing, whether it be in the HTTP or in the P2P domain consumes a heavy amount of Bandwidth in the system and this for sure is one of the services that gets a serious boost in the 3G and 4G platforms. A mobility network that has 3G and 4G properties with appropriate amount of Caching in its own ISP core actually helps a lot to boost these services as they are very bandwidth hungry. Today with the age of online education and diverse content distribution, file sharing is a purpose that is definitely going to help the cause of 3G and 4G.
Cloud computing Flow

2. Cloud Computing : When we were small kids or probably in the 5th grade we saw the computer for the first time. Mobile phones were a fancy in the "Star Wars" movie and imagining things to be done on the mobile phone apart from talking was something like a madness. However today the realities have changed. Computer is no more an amalgamation of Processing unit, Input output unit and Storage unit in the same place bound together. Today even the notebook or "Laptop" as we call it is slowly becoming obsolete. Why so? Well Cloud computing. The OS, the storage the Infrastructure may not be at the same location at all. They may be all connected by a private or public network. The peripheral device may be a thin PC without a processor, a tablet or a Mobile Smart Phone. In some of the cases the media may be wired however in most of the cases the media is wireless. Network accessed from the Cellular region and in that case it is more and more necessary to have the network having the Bandwidth of 3G or 4G. A user may upload the files to a centralized cloud location and may try to retrieve it from anywhere anytime and in this case the network and its bandwidth is of a crucial factor. 
VPN services, wired and wireless

3. VPN Services: Today the major problem of the metro cities is the fact that there is an increasing demand for space in both the commercial and the Residential sector. Most of the offices, especially the smaller ones are actually planning to provide work from home facilities to the employees who are mostly doing a desk job in the office. In this case there is a need of a VPN that connects the employees to the office and all the employees work well in a home environment, contributing to the peace of the city, by not increasing traffic and also reducing pollution. On the other hand there are many employees who are field staff and are constantly on the move from one client location to another and these people are actually always connected to the Office network by means of a VPN. The difference of course is that these people connect by means of a cellular connection and if that connection is of a high BW like HSPA+ or LTE then the work becomes very easy. 
Peer to Peer transfer

4. Peer to Peer Service: While most of us would say that these services are actually on the decline, the statistics tell a different story. Peer to Peer services like Torrent and e-Donkey are actually on the rise due to the fact that most of the content, actually 80% are not present on any HTTP site. The only reason these are sometimes inhibited by ISPs is because of the consumption of BW that happens in these kinds of services. While one may debate that the P2P way is a very unorganized way of information interchange, the fact is, it has the access to maximum amount of content that actually may not be available on any web-server. This actually mandates the availability of a very good and robust network that the user has an access to.  The BW rates of HSPA+ and LTE actually allow the users even on the cellular network to be encouraged to use the P2P services. 
Database Services

5. Database Services: The big problem with Data is that it is too much in quantity and it is too unstructured at times and sometimes not accessible at the right time. To solve these problems there was the innovation of database systems. A normal evolution of these systems were to have a central location of storing and structuring the data and to make the relevant query results available to the users on thin clients located across the region and also the globe. As we already established the incumbency of cloud computing, the database services is more like that. The access to the database should be secured and should be of quality BW. In the event the user is a mobile user the BW rates of HSPA+ and LTE actually help this happen. 

6. Video/Audio Download: While the live streaming and progressive download mechanisms can be actually handled by the optimization techniques to an extent (Though this way of handling is becoming obsolete in age of quality), there is a lot of content in the video and the audio format that are actually downloadable. In this case there is a full download of the entire file from a particular web-server to the client location. In such a case the 3G and the 4G network should be able to suffice with smooth download with a greater TCP window size. Though the TCP window size variance is not only a factor of a fat pipe BW but also the proximity of the content (Which is why you need to place Content Caches in the system, nearer the proximity, bigger the window size, higher is the BW usage for download) a higher BW should always be available for usage. 
These are some of the many reasons why 3G and 4G are not only about video. I am not trying to propound a new theory over here, but actually trying to remind that these technology have a wider purpose and these purposes should also be explored. Looking at these technologies to be only a kind of video boosters is the same like buying a microwave oven with loads of feature only for heating food. 
So let us be judicious and rational. 
Cheers,
Kalyan
Image Courtesy: www.google.co.in 

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