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AT&T Admits Network Can't Handle iPhone, iPad Traffic 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the sky-is-blue dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "AT&T has admitted that the rise of tablets and smartphones like the iPad and iPhone has taken a major toll on its network. In its public filing to the Federal Communications Commission yesterday, the company admitted that its network has been under increasing strain as more and more high-bandwidth devices have been connected. This not only includes smartphones like the iPhone, but tablets like the iPad as well. AT&T says that in many cases tablets put a greater stress on their network (PDF) than smartphones do."
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AT&T Admits Network Can't Handle iPhone, iPad Traffic

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  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:32PM (#35909708)

    With wired networks "Just build more," is basically always an option. Connection too slow? Upgrade the equipment to faster signaling. At the max signaling? Upgrade to fiber, or to better fiber. Have the most out of one connection you can? Lay more fiber and run it in parallel.

    That isn't the case with wireless. Providers have a defined set of frequencies they can use. They can't just use more because it is licensed. Transmission power is also regulated and of course noise is out of their control. So that means bandwidth and SNR are fixed, which means the throughput you'll get is fixed (as per Shanon's Law).

    Also, since it is wireless, everyone on a given cell shares what you have. If the technology and conditions allow for, say, 5mbps you get 5mbps to split among everyone. If there's 1 guy, he gets 5mbps to himself. If there's 100 people they split it and get much less each.

    Only solution is to build out the cell towers, make them more frequent so each cell is smaller. Well and good but cost aside, people whine, they don't want to see them, they don't want them near their houses. That makes for a problem.

    There is no magic solution for this. Better technology and new frequency licenses (LTE and WiMax and all that) will help a lot (of course it costs a lot to roll out since all radios have to be augmented with new ones) but you run in to physical limits.

  • by schnell (163007) <me@scLAPLACEhnell.net minus math_god> on Friday April 22, 2011 @08:52PM (#35912016) Homepage

    Instead it CUT it's deployment spending over the past few years

    [citation needed]

    That would explain a lot but I looked it up and there appears to be no indication that's the culprit (not sure what is). Here's a link [trefis.com] or two [seekingalpha.com] or three [barrons.com] that says AT&T has increased its wireless capital spending. I found one article [multichannel.com] claiming what you say in the headline but if you read the article the jist is that the reduction in capital spending was due to a slowdown in their U-verse home fiber buildout.

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