70% Improvement in Mobile Network App Performance is Possible,Study Finds

Mobile networks can be optimized for app performance, a test by XL Axiata, Ericsson and Facebook has found.

The resultant optimizations improved app coverage by up to 70 percent, according to Internet.org.

The number of connections completed within three seconds improved up to 70 percent.

Time to content improved up to 70 percent and upload time improved up to 50 percent. In the radio access network, problems were found with parameter settings and capacity bottlenecks. 

“For example, the higher-end smartphone took significantly longer than the lower-end smartphone to upload photographs, which was due to a parameter settings issue,” Internet.org says. 


To remedy that problem, Ericsson and XL Axiata performed optimizations of coverage, uplink performance parameters and RAN capacity parameters. DNS servers also were an issue. XL Axiata’s DNS servers experienced a high processing load, and measurements revealed that this had a significant impact on user quality of experience.


Results showed that objects, such as photographs, might download in 0.5 to 3 seconds, while DNS resolution could skyrocket to 10 to 35 seconds.

This delay would render the user experience so bad that the app would appear to be not working.

To remedy that problem, XL Axiata reconfigured its servers, changed parameter tunings and performed some capacity upgrades, according to Internet.orgContent delivery networks also had impact on user experience. 

Looking at the worst 10 percent of samples, the local servers, which processed 16 percent of data, had a time to content of three seconds, while more distant servers had a time to content of up to 20 seconds.


In response, Facebook redirected traffic to different servers that were closer and had better connectivity to XL Axiata’s network. In stationary rural tests on the worst 10 percent of scenarios, time to content was lowered from nine seconds to 2.8 seconds on the lower-end smartphone.

The final results of the combined changes to the RAN, DNS and CDN showed app coverage improvements of 40 to 70 percent. Within that scope, time to content improved up to by 80 percent, while upload time improved by up to 50 percent.
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