iPhone: Could Multitasking Increase 3G Woes?
Considering the sheer volume of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhones on the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and mmO2 plc (NYSE/London: OOM) networks was the root cause of wireless capacity problems, some are wondering what will happen when Apple's operating system update adds multitasking to the mix.
Multitasking means users will be able to run more than one application on the phone at one time, something Apple fans have long clamored for. Apple said in April that multitasking in iPhone OS 4.0 will be available for the 3G smartphone this summer and the iPad tablet in the fall. (See Apple: Ads Get the i Treatment.)
The prospect has Fabricio Martinez, group SPM and director at Aircom International Ltd. , nervous: "It's just scary to think of multitasking on the iPhone. People are going to be running two or three applications in the background all the time on networks that just aren't designed to do that."
Congestion and interference in densely populated cities is caused by a large number of smartphones "shouting" at the radio access networks (RAN). Having smartphone applications constantly pinging the radio network controller (RNC) "creates a bottleneck," Andy Tiller, VP of marketing at femtocell maker ip.access Ltd. , elucidates.
Multitasking could potentially up the signaling problems that operators have already seen. "The bandwidth and session count per user will skyrocket as mobile devices become more capable of multitasking and cloud-based applications take hold," suggests deep packet inspection specialist Procera Networks in a recent blog. (See iPhone Troubles Might Go Beyond Signaling.)
Tiller suggests that femtocells could partly provide an answer to signaling problems, since they incorporate a radio network controller right in the box. "Operators need to do a lot of things... WiFi and femtocells will be part of the armory of weapons."
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile