MOBILE CLOUD COMPUTING CONCEPTS - TRAINING_MODULES_WITH_TONS_OF_VIDEOS
NetZero came onto
the scene in 1998 as the first in a crop of Internet service providers that gave subscribers free access to the Web using
an advertising-supported model.
NetZero’s patented ad technology displayed highly targeted ads to users
as they browsed the Internet at dial-up speeds, but it was forced into a freemium model when a number of other ISPs began
offering free Web access as well. NetZero continues to offer basic paid dial-up and broadband services, but now the company
is going back to its roots in an effort to disrupt the wireless industry as it did to the dial-up industry nearly 14 years
Clearwire as its network partner, NetZero on Monday unveiled a new contract-free 4G wireless broadband service. At launch,
NetZero has two affordable hardware devices available for purchase: a $49.99 NetZero 4G Stick and a $99.99 NetZero 4G Hotspot.
Neither device requires a commitment of any kind on the part of the user.
Affordable 4G modems are just the beginning. NetZero will also
offer five no-contract service plans at launch that start at free — yes, free — and top out at $49.99 per month.
plan obviously comes with some big caveats. First, it only affords 200MB of data each month. On a WiMAX network that afforded
average download speeds of between 8Mbps and 9Mbps during my tests, this seems like an incredibly small amount of data. For
light travelers who need access to email on the go a few times each month with minimal Web browsing, however, this plan will
certainly get the job done. Any use case beyond that will likely require a larger plan.
The other big draw-back is a restriction
stipulating that the free plan can only be used for 12 consecutive months. This means two things: if a user activates the
free plan and then upgrades to a paid plan after a month or two, he or she cannot switch back to the free plan.
Secondly, the light travelers looking for a free high-speed connection described above will only have a year to enjoy free
service. The cheapest monthly plan after a year is just $9.95 though, and since there are no contracts to worry about, users
can deactivate and reactivate service at any time...
4G/LTE networks are in their relative
infancy in Australia, but the market will undoubtedly grow exponentially in the next 12 months.
The New iPad -
while incompatible at present with Australia's 4G networks which run on the 1800MHz spectrum - is just one of the many devices
that are out there and ready to take over, while the next generation of smartphones are only just beginning to hit the market.
The Samsung Galaxy S III is on its way and is 4G/LTE-capable (but with the caveat "depending on market",
so whether it has the same issues as the New iPad in connecting to 4G here remains to be seen), while the next version of
the iPhone may follow suit. With these devices and their next incarnations expected to dominate the market this year and in
years to come, the sheer volume of people who will access 4G/LTE networks for bandwidth-heavy applications - such as the trend
of streaming catch-up TV on mobile devices - will only expand.
However, the greater volume of connections will,
in turn, provide a whole new set of challenges for service providers that are simply trying to keep up. For example, US provider
AT&T's wireless traffic has grown 20,000 per cent over the last five years. And that is before LTE. Ponder that stat for
Now consider that in a recent study by Arieso of a European mobile network, the iPhone 4S has nearly
doubled the amount of data being downloaded compared to its predecessor, the suddenly-ancient iPhone 4. Again, the iPhone
is not yet an LTE handset.
So you can begin to understand why mobile service providers are concerned about the
strain their networks will be under given the pace of evolution in smartphones with increasingly compelling features - what
some call an evolution to the "Superphone" - combined with those devices becoming 4G/LTE-capable. The Arieso study
is the perfect example of the issues at hand here: as these smartphones become more advanced, the demands on the network increase.
That same study showed that just one per cent of users consumed a full 50 per cent of total bandwidth.
It's the bandwidth equivalent of
Occupy Wall Street. And it's amazing to think that if that one per cent grew to two per cent, the bandwidth would be completely
Studies have shown
that a majority of people are now using their smartphones while in retail stores for checking products in-store before comparing
prices online. Those same studies show that a fifth of smartphone users are now streaming video.
But are mobile users to blame? Or are they simply adapting
to the incredible capabilities of today's smartphones and tomorrow's Superphones? More importantly, what can service providers
do to keep up?
try answer that, let's consider where the technology is headed.
The evolution to the Superphone
While the definition of a Superphone hasn't been completely agreed on yet, there
is at least some consensus on the features that make up the next stage in the smartphone evolution. Those features include:
a screen size larger than four inches that is capable of both 3G gaming and (at least) 720p HD video; a camera with a resolution
between five and eight megapixels (with HD video capture of course); 3D graphics acceleration; motion sensors; near-field
communication capabilities; and a dual or quad core processor with speeds of at least 1 gigahertz to get the whole thing running
All of these
bandwidth-hungry applications and capabilities combined with the growing trend to mobilise everything from shopping to video
streaming has forced the evolution we're seeing today. Phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S III are a testament to that.
And just as demand for 3G was driven
by the migration from 2G phones - rather than the networks being ready for it - the Superphone will force providers to enhance
their networks yet again. Just as the world became used to 3G speeds, 4G/LTE comes along and makes the network seem as obsolete
as the compact disc.
data deluge only promises to increase as application developers move faster than the networks can keep up. In one prominent
example, Australian video streaming service Quickflix recently announced they would make the service available on iPhones.
So what can
the operators do to keep up?
one, you may have seen the end of unlimited data plans. According to an Allott report released last year, more than half of all service providers no longer offer unlimited data packages. Again, this is before 4G/LTE and
the data demands that come with it.
But with bandwidth growing substantially and with customers demanding smooth operations of their applications constantly,
providers risk a backlash should they continue with restrictions on data. Customer dissatisfaction could increase, sales could
drop as customers fall back to smaller data plans and revenues could suffer.
Operators instead need to continue to develop their networks to support this growing
hunger for bandwidth-intensive data, especially with 4G/LTE set to become the norm. These operators need to ensure the mobile
backhaul portion of their network - which connects mobile base stations to the core network - is scalable and robust.
The answer, then, is as simple as putting
sufficient capacity and resiliency in the backhaul of the network. The NBN could provide one solution, in transitioning Australian
operators from a dated copper network to the light speed of fibre.
Another solution is Carrier Ethernet, which offers a scalable architecture that
allows operators to support next-gen mobile applications and control costs.
Either way, the key to survival for these operators is keeping up with demand and
evolving the networks to suit. By ensuring there is sufficient capacity and resiliency in the backhaul, these networks will
be able to deal with the bandwidth demands of a population that will transition to 4G faster than you can say "3G is
Next up: are
operators ready for the 5G Ultraphone revolution...?
Some 4G Basics:
Telecommunications standards are constantly changing as technology advances and
the publics hunger for more content delivered to their portable devices faster is a driving force behind these developments.
At the moment you may be aware that a majority of modern mobile phones and mobile broadband services for PC and Laptop owners
connect to 3G networks.
This name refers to the fact that this is considered to be the 3rd generation of mobile
telecommunications networking technology, and at the moment 3G networks are capable of download speeds of between 3.6 Mbps
and 7.2 Mbps. This speed will depend on the network provider you choose, the level of 3G coverage and the capabilities of
the mobile platform you are using to receive the signal.
However, there are many companies who are working on
creating 4G technologies, or the 4th generation of mobile networking, though at the time of writing 4G is not a standardized,
unified technology and there are different companies working on 4G products that won't perform in the same way or to the same
What is 4G?
At the moment 4G technologies are looking to be similar in many
ways to the wireless networks that you may have used in your place of work or in your own home, only on a much larger scale
and integrated into mobile devices as well as desktop solutions. For mobile users it will provide an `always on` mobile broadband
connection so that voice calls, media streaming and internet access will be constantly at hand.
download speeds capable over 4G networking should be far greater than is currently available on 3G or indeed any home broadband
service provided by a landline, with test 4G networks in China delivering 100 Mbps download speeds. What`s even better news
is that this 100 Mbps speed is claimed by some companies to be the download speed available when the subject is on the move
in a train or a car. If you're standing in one spot relative to the broadcasting beacon then up to 1 Gbps data transfer speed
could be possible.
This is literally an incredible development and a huge leap in terms of download speed and
will no doubt further revolutionize the way in which we have access to the internet, as well as drastically lowering the cost
of voice calls which use relatively little bandwidth.
At the moment most people have mobile phones and many will also use wireless broadband, either in their own homes thanks to a wireless router or through
a mobile broadband solution using 3G networks.
Samsung and other large manufacturers have been demonstrating 4G
technology, both WiBro (wireless broadband) and WiMAX for some years now, and there are already mobile phones available that
use this technology like the HTC MAX 4G and the Nokia N810 WiMAX edition. Sadly 4G will not be available on a large scale
for a few years as standardizations are made and more companies combine their efforts to define 4G, but when the time comes
it will be an incredibly exciting product.
4G has the potential to be a completely different animal
from 3G in terms of coverage and speed from the various wireless carriers. This article takes a look at current coverage,
average speeds across locations, and finally, future plans from the four major wireless telcos in the United States: Verizon,
AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the article, I’d like to define
4G. 4G, as defined by IMT-2000 standards, has a theoretical max of 100mbps download and 50mbps upload. In the real world,
you will never get 100% of those speeds, but it should be possible to get fairly close. The highest I've personally seen is
around 70mbps download and around 40mbps upload. Note however that once 4G becomes more mainstream, expect to see speeds much
lower than that as there will be more people using it.
Personally, though, as long as I can get around 20mbps
download and half that upload, I will be a happy camper as I’m not sure what you could possibly need the extra speed
for, especially with the pathetic caps most carriers are introducing. The four carriers will be ranked based on speed, coverage,
and known future plans for expansion. (Note that these are my opinions only.)
First Place: Verizon
That map says a lot. As of today, Verizon is in 230 markets
covering some 2/3rds of the entire US population. Verizon has been extremely aggressive with its 4G rollout, as you’ll
see when we take a look at where other carriers are currently at. The coverage however, is only part of the story. Coverage
is useless if the speed isn’t there.
The bad news is that speeds are highly variable and mostly based on
your signal strength, or how far away you are from a cell tower. The good news, however, is that as long as you’ve got
decent signal strength, the average result seems to be around 30mbps down and 8-10mbps up.
That is the average
of what I have seen in various “Post your speed test results” threads on various forums, so yours may be higher
or it may be lower. According to Speedtest.net however, the average speed is 15mbps download and 5mbps upload. Keep in mind
that the results may be skewed to the lower end of what they actually should be due to the fact that people who are experiencing
poor speeds are more likely to keep taking multiple speed tests to get faster results.
It will be interesting to
see if these speeds are maintained as more people buy 4G enabled devices. The only downside is that Verizon has a 2GB cap.
They do have a "promotion" going on that doubles data to 4GB for no extra charge. Hopefully this "promotion"
becomes the standard data cap. Verizon is continuing with its aggressive 4G rollout, and by the end of 2012, they expect to
be in 400 markets covering 260 million people.
Second Place: AT&T
Although AT&T comes in
second place, I’d say that it is a very distant second. Compared to Verizon’s 230 markets, AT&T has a grand
total of 32 markets (AT&T dropped us a line to state the company actually serves 38 markets with the recent addition of
numerous markets including New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Naples). The good news however is that AT&T seems to be on par,
and often a tad bit faster than Verizon. The average seems to be around 40-50mbps download and anywhere from 10-25mbps upload.
Perhaps that is so that they can keep claiming that they're the "fastest network" because they sure
as heck can't claim they have more coverage…yet anyway.
It could also be a consequence of there not being
as many people on AT&Ts network as Verizon’s. AT&T recently expanded to 11 new markets upon the introduction
of the new iPad, and plans to cover a good majority of its network footprint by 2013. If you live in a smaller city, it might
be wise to jump to Verizon if you really, really want 4G. Otherwise, you might be waiting a year or more for AT&T to bring
it to your city.
Third Place: Sprint
Ouch. As you can read above,
Sprint currently does not offer true 4G. Instead, they rely on WiMax.
WiMax, while better than traditional 3G,
does not hold a candle to what Verizon and AT&T are doing. I could show a map of WiMax coverage, but this is an article
about 4G, not WiMax and not AT&T’s fake 4G which is basically HSPA+. The speed of WiMax is generally less than 10mbps
down, and often closer to 5mbps, and 1-2mbps up. A positive point however is that Sprint currently does not have any caps
on their WiMax service. We’ll see if they’re kind enough to carry that over to their 4G offering.
good news is that Sprint is aggressively planning its 4G rollout, which is expected to debut sometime this month and initially cover 123 million Americans, and completing the rollout by 2013 covering 250 million Americans. Sprint
is the one to watch in my opinion. If they can deliver on their rollout promises, offer competitive speeds, and keep unlimited
data (or at least offer a more reasonable cap than 2GB), they might come out on top.
Fourth Place: T-Mobile
T-Mobile, similar to Sprint, does
not currently offer true 4G. T-Mobile’s current "4G" is the same as the fake 4G that AT&T tried to introduce
to customers before they started their true 4G rollout, which is essentially a beefed up HSPA+. Speeds are similar to Sprint’s
WiMax, topping out at around 10mbps down and 2mbps up. T-Mobile is expected to rollout its 4G network starting in 2013 and
is expected to reach the "vast majority" of the top 50 markets, whatever that means.
I think what that
means in non-corporate speak is that it will be similar to their 3G coverage. However, if you are in a market the T-Mobile
covers well, the price is hard to beat. That is assuming they don’t increase price for 4G.