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

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