Light Reading

Allot: Bandwidth Out of Sync With Mobile Video

Sarah Reedy
2/19/2014
50%
50%
Repost This

Despite different networks, handset sizes, and quality of content, it appears many mobile operators are still treating all video content the same, a practice that Allot says is harming the user experience.

According to deep packet inspection specialist Allot Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALLT)'s latest mobile trends report, released Wednesday morning, the bandwidth allocation the network automatically does has no correlation to video stream requirements. That means that some video sessions aren't receiving enough bandwidth, which causes stalling and a poor quality of experience (QoE). Other sessions get more than their fair share. All of this makes inefficient use of network resources.

Allot's position at the core of the mobile network lets it collect data on every video transaction, including insights into the handset, browser, operating system, policy, bandwidth allocated, and quality. For this study, it tracked 300,000 video detail records from the millions that took place during one week in December on an operator in a developed country. The operator wasn't using any form of video optimization or management.

As Andrei Elefant, VP of product management and marketing at Allot, explains it, the container of the protocol used to deliver video -- 3GP or MP4 -- might require narrow bandwidth, but the network isn't aware of that stipulation. It doesn't understand the content of the video, he says, so it simply allocates the bandwidth it has.

"The network is allocating bandwidth in an inefficient way that can impact the quality of video and impact other apps using the network resources at the same time," he says.

The issue is only more pronounced on LTE, where Elefant says Allot found that the video transactions just fill to consume the available bandwidth even when unnecessary. Allot found the problem is most pronounced on laptops using dongles because of the higher resolution required for the bigger screens. (See LTE Speeds Up, But Doesn't Improve Mobile Video.)

Why this matters
It's not surprising that a vendor that sells mobile video optimization and analytics technologies also touts a study which suggests such optimization tools are necessary. But, the results are notable because mobile video easily makes up more than 50% of data on the network. It's a big reason many operators moved to tiered data pricing. Operators that don't address video efficiency will feel the pressure on their networks and in the QOE they can offer subscribers.

Those operators that have implemented optimization strategies have taken different approaches so far. Some, such as Verizon Wireless , optimize video quality to the type of device a user has, so a feature phone sees lower quality video than an iPhone. Some optimize all the content on their networks indiscriminately. Others are still deciding how to tackle video, or leaning on small cells and WiFi offload instead. (See Optimizing the Mobile Video Startup Space, Mobile Video Optimization Gets Smart, Verizon Tweaks Mobile Video for Data Caps, and Video Quality Isn't Hot Air for Wind Mobile.)

Related posts

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(11)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
ysulkes
50%
50%
ysulkes,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/20/2014 | 1:49:14 PM
Re: Quality concerns

Another way of looking at this issue is through the business lens, i.e. how is the end-user paying for the video experience. Value-based charging can change the way users consume video and thus can solve some of the inherent issues we face today.

SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 3:12:01 PM
Re: Quality concerns
Thanks for sharing, jhinman. I agree that it's an annoyance and even a hinderence to mobile video viewing. Perhaps there is more tolerance for it on laptops because users are more likely to be multitasking, so they can come back to the video. On mobile, if the experience is bad, you give up and blame the operator, not the content provider, for sure.

Seems like the content providers should be doing more to deliver video made for mobile first, but it's ultimately an operator problem.
Jay Hinman
50%
50%
Jay Hinman,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/19/2014 | 2:07:39 PM
Re: Quality concerns
Sarah, I found this Conviva data from last year really interesting (and spot-on) with regard to how tolerant viewers are with regard to buffering or stalling: http://www.frost.com/c/10107/blog/blog-display.do?id=2692287. Research we've done at my company also comes to the same conclusion: we (as a people) won't wait for stalling or buffering, and will tend to reflexively blame our operators (not content providers) when videos won't play.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 12:15:53 PM
Re: pCell: Unexpected Alternaive
The pCell stuff is really interesting. Antenna advancement and technologies like multipath TCP and carrier bonding are creating new options for bandwidth boosts. This will be a good one to keep an eye on.

In general, I think there will be continual network upgrades to support more activity on the network, but does that preclude the need for video-specific optimization? I think it doesn't, unless good-enough video still cuts it on the most advanced networks.
Jessie Morrow
50%
50%
Jessie Morrow,
User Rank: Lightning
2/19/2014 | 11:54:58 AM
pCell: Unexpected Alternaive
Just earlier this morning I heard about perhaps an unexpected alternative to the mobile bandwidth problem, pCell by inventor and entrepreneur Steve Perlman ( he sold WebTV to Microsoft ) which supposedly gives each mobile device its own  fast connection. Just from reading this it indeed seems if this pCell does what intended it looks as if it still very much in its infancy but nevertheless shows us the solution to mobile bandwidth shortage may come from an expected direction.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 10:54:36 AM
Re: Quality concerns
@Sarah we might be seeing some backlash for this, as well. It's still very new, so we'll have to give it some time to see what happens.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 10:52:44 AM
Re: Quality concerns
Interesting. That is talking about Verizon FiOS fixed broadband, but there's potential to do the same on mobile as well -- not without a huge backlash though.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 10:49:00 AM
Re: Quality concerns
see http://davesblog.com/blog/2014/02/05/verizon-using-recent-net-neutrality-victory-to-wage-war-against-netflix/ It's on the basis of this that a number of sites have reported Verizon's slowdown.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 10:46:17 AM
Re: Quality concerns
What do you mean re Verizon? They aren't allocating bandwidth for all customers, just lower-paying ones, or for certain kinds of content? I haven't heard of any policy changes yet, but they are certainly doable.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 10:43:28 AM
Re: Quality concerns
I heard that Verizon said it is not going to be so generous with bandwith for video, which could account for some stalling and such. However, some videos some to be set up somewhat off, so no matter how good your connection is, your video will be out of sync.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (6) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Analysts' Impressions of Huawei SoftCOM at ONS 2014

4|1|14   |   1:11   |   (0) comments


After visiting the Huawei booth at ONS, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research gives his appraisal of Huawei's SoftCOM solution.
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/15/2014
Cisco, Juniper Treating Gear Against Potential Heartbleed
Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, 4/11/2014
Cisco & VMware Are Apple & Google of SDN
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/14/2014
T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Mobile Apps Susceptible to Heartbleed, Too
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed