According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index 2017, mobile video traffic accounted for 60 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2016. All told, mobile video is expected to increase nine-fold between 2016 and 2021, accounting for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic by 2021.
Given the anticipated growth, it’s clear that providing customers with a great video experience will be critical for mobile operators to stay competitive and profitable. But it won’t be easy.
The mobile network deployment of WiFi, 3G, 4G, and 5G aims to give subscribers a higher-quality experience for mobile broadband, while providing operators an opportunity to create and customize revenue streams. However, to maintain a competitive advantage, mobile operators will need to evolve their Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) optimization practices to deliver faster network services as mobile data traffic increases.
While most applications use TCP to communicate with the services they need, it was originally designed to establish connections and deliver data between clients and servers—not to support services like voice and video. Moreover, TCP is optimized for accurate delivery rather than timely delivery and can incur seconds-long delays while waiting for out-of-order messages or retransmissions of lost messages. Thus, TCP is not ideal for real-time applications such as voice and video. Sporadic packet loss caused by network congestion can drastically slow transfer rates. This means reduced loading speeds, degraded voice quality, and poor video streaming experiences for users.
TCP optimization solutions need to be flexible enough to handle the varying network conditions of WiFi, 3G, 4G, future 5G, and handover scenarios between these network types. TCP optimization techniques need to handle congestion, lower latency, integrate with policy awareness and user control, and support high scalability to approach Cisco’s 2021 predictions.
To support the varying network conditions and overcome inherent protocol limitations, F5’s BIG-IP platform uses these adaptive TCP optimization-specific functions:
Properly handled, TCP optimization provides reliable, consistent services and application delivery while dramatically improving performance across networks to deliver a better user experience. Users gain faster browsing and quicker access to content, with uncompromised quality of service.
All of this makes TCP optimization an effective (and necessary) means for mobile operators to maintain a strong competitive advantage via reduced loading times for applications and subscribers. Through the advantages described above, the BIG-IP platform lets operators adapt in real-time to the variable conditions of mobile networks—latency, packet loss, congestion, etc.—fully utilizing available bandwidth and accelerating application traffic.
To learn more about F5’s TCP optimization capabilities, visit our Data Traffic Management solution page.