By 2015, more people will access the Internet from mobile devices than from conventional PCs. A year later, in 2016, 19 billion devices and gizmos will be connected to the mobile Internet — not just your smartphone and tablet, but your washing machine, cars and clothes will be connected too.
That’s a giant problem for wireless carriers, which are already struggling to keep up with surging data demand. Trying to innovate their way out of the crunch, the industry is using new tools and tricks to optimize every bit of infrastructure.
Cisco added a key piece to the puzzle on Tuesday, releasing a new tool that will let carriers sift through and prioritize the traffic flooding their networks.
It sounds pretty geeky — “mobile packet core” product launches don’t inspire iPhone-like frenzies — but this back-end upgrade has some significant implications for everyday users.
The problem: Everyone has experienced the frustrating effects of wireless network congestion. Your video buffers forever, a website takes minutes to launch, or you can’t get Google Maps to load when you’re late to a meeting and don’t know where to go.
Much of that pain comes from the way that today’s networks give more or less the same priority to all kinds of traffic. Ads running on Angry Birds are treated the same as a Netflix video — not a good thing, if a bunch of ads on other people’s phones are causing your movie to stall.
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