Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Negroponte Switch for Mobile Traffic?

To the extent that tablets and smart phones are displacing time formerly spent with PCs, there is potential for a shift in demand for access from mobile and fixed networks. That's what offloading of mobile traffic to Wi-Fi networks is all about. 

On the other hand, users also are shifting application use formerly occurring on PCs to their smart phones and tablets. So some traffic formerly on the fixed network is loaded to the mobile network. 

But the composition of the traffic is uneven. Where once television was delivered "over the air," it has over the past several decades moved to the fixed network, while "narrowband" traffic (voice and messaging) has moved to the air (mobile networks). 

Some might remember that this was known as the "Negroponte Switch." 

Something along similar lines is happening with "mobile" traffic. The bandwidth-intensive applications, especially video, is moving to the fixed network. The real-time communications traffic (chat, messaging, voice) and real-time application traffic (navigation, some transactions) is moving to the mobile network. 

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