How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

Here's something you may not know: 4G applications delivering smaller packets more quickly across wireless networks run the risk of busting up network equipment, according to the CEO of Stoke Inc.

Stoke, which makes mobile data gateways that can provide encrypted tunnels for thousands of Long Term Evolution (LTE) connections, is warning that packet sizes are shrinking, and this can have a detrimental effect on much of the network.

"Most equipment just isn't designed to handle very small packets; they just die," CEO Vikash Varma told Light Reading Mobile recently.

"If you've built your network equipment with an average packet size of 500 bytes in mind and the average packet size shrinks to 300 bytes then you've got a problem," adds Dan McBride, VP of marketing for Stoke.

Why would the average packet sizes handled on a network shrink? According to Stoke, new services like voice over LTE will mean that many more smaller packets arrive on a 4G network in a flurry.

"Average packet sizes shrink and packets-per-second rates go up, which amplifies latency," explains the company in its SSX-3000 packet data gateway network blurb. The firm says (of course) that its equipment is built to deal with this issue, where "legacy" boxes may not be able to adapt.

Stoke has already seen the depth of the 4G deluge firsthand thanks to its LTE deal with NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) in Japan. "What we've seen in terms of traffic is unlike anything we ever imagined," marvels CEO Varma.

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— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:24:57 PM
re: How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

Seems reasonable and would support the need to virtualize the core, I would think.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:24:57 PM
re: How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

Verizon has never really given full accounts of its 4G LTE outages, right?

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:24:56 PM
re: How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

What the official says makes sense, but aside from VoLTE, why would other apps require small packets? 

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:24:55 PM
re: How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

Signaling on 3G networks has definitely already caused problems, yes. The channel is supposed to wider for signaling on LTE networks.

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 5:24:55 PM
re: How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

Haven't there already been signalling issues that various companies have been addressing with code changes?

Could a better VoLTE be designed to not use so many small packets?


alandal 12/5/2012 | 5:24:55 PM
re: How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

What he stated are nothing new and most are well understood. LTE is IP based entirely so it will have latency and efficiency issues with smaller packets going through air interface. And IP is chattty anyway in order maintain always-on, "singalling" stuff for both native IP and IP based RAN? Some social net based Apps will be even more chatty to refresh yours and your contacts status even you are not "using" device. But what they could do to solve the "problem" ?

alandal 12/5/2012 | 5:24:51 PM
re: How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

to tera:


Singaling problems can only (or best) be solved by standard based approach since interoperability is key. And it's being addressed by multiple std bodies.

Better VoLTE? Given the nature of low-bandwidth and high latancy sensitivity required by voice and LTE airinterface's higher throughputs and support for supposedlt more users (multiplexing), don't see how to improve over the airinterface ...

but I could be wrong .....

odyssey_2010 12/5/2012 | 5:24:36 PM
re: How 4G Apps Can Kill Old Gear

Voice services are quite different from data services.  We have to do more to welcome VoLTE.

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