Sorry, America: Your wireless airwaves are full

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#1
Sorry, America: Your wireless airwaves are full

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The U.S. mobile phone industry is running out of the airwaves necessary to provide voice, text and Internet services to its customers.


The problem, known as the "spectrum crunch," threatens to increase the number of dropped calls, slow down data speeds and raise customers' prices. It will also whittle down the nation's number of wireless carriers and create a deeper financial divide between those companies that have capacity and those that don't.

Wireless spectrum -- the invisible infrastructure over which all wireless transmissions travel -- is a finite resource. When, exactly, we'll hit the wall is the subject of intense debate, but almost everyone in the industry agrees that a crunch is coming.

The U.S. still has a slight spectrum surplus. But at the current growth rate, the surplus turns into a deficit as early as next year, according to the Federal Communications Commission's estimates.

"Network traffic is increasing," says an official at the FCC's wireless bureau. "[Carriers] can manage it for the next couple years, but demand is inevitably going to exceed the available spectrum."
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#2
Mobile Video is Breaking the Internet

It's not even "useful" stuff that's the cause of the crunch. Most of it is "fluff": killing time watching streaming video of Jersey Shore on a 4G wireless connection, not exactly the kind of thing that is going to catapult the USA into the lead in technology and productivity. You know, that thing that having internet everywhere is supposed to do.

Ironically, the FCC's solution to the problem is to kill the efficient "one to many" model of free broadcast TV, and replace it with the inefficient and expensive (to the consumer) "one to one" model of internet streaming.

Global mobile data traffic is just about doubling every year, and will continue to do so through at least 2016, according to Cisco's (CSCO, Fortune 500) Mobile Visual Networking Index, the industry's most comprehensive annual study. The iPhone, for instance, uses 24 times as much spectrum as an old-fashioned cell phone, and the iPad uses 122 times as much, according to the FCC. AT&T says wireless data traffic on its network has grown 20,000% since the iPhone debuted in 2007.

Video and mobile are breaking the Internet
"We got into this principally because technology and demand exploded at a rate that nobody had anticipated," says Rory Altman, director of technology consultancy Altman Vilandrie & Co.
Service providers and manufacturers need to stop pushing wireless devices as video delivery systems. Spectrum is a finite resource, and all of it can not be dedicated to watching YouTube.
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#3
And to think it was only a few years ago we were told "the best solution" would be to bury fiber optic cable throughout the Country. Much of it could have been done with the money flushed down the toilet pushing Solyndra and other failing 'green' businesses. How many (literal) shovel-ready jobs would it have created?

Jim
 
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EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#4
Im wondering about how video streams are gauged for mobile devices. Are people streaming HD via cell towers?

I only stream 480p on my Roku at home which is on a 42" 1080p screen.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#5
Im wondering about how video streams are gauged for mobile devices. Are people streaming HD via cell towers?

I only stream 480p on my Roku at home which is on a 42" 1080p screen.
I'm streaming at 480i on my 52". I am dealing with an ISP that throttles me on a daily basis, and I've managed my bandwidth at several points: Netflix quality settings, Roku display settings, and Roku's bandwidth settings (hidden settings!).

Quality is good with Netflix, who handle it well, and I've never rebuffered on Neflix in the 3 months I've used it. Other channels don't deal with my restriction very well, some being unwatchable.
 
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