Breaking the Mobile Computing Logjam

Michael Vizard

The primary issue with mobile computing these days is the availability of bandwidth. Naturally, you might think it has something to do with the quality of the networking technology that is currently available to the carriers. In reality, it turns out there are plenty of advanced networking technologies available that would solve the problem; the trouble is that carriers are reluctant to make the appropriate levels of investment to really solve the problem.

Cisco is trying to resolve this impasse with the launch today of the ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers System, which combines Cisco network virtualization and router technology to dramatically increase the performance of mobile computing networks, while dramatically reducing the cost of operating those networks.

According to Cisco's Suraj Shetty, Cisco vice president of worldwide service provider marketing, mobile carriers typically spend 60 to 70 percent of their technology budgets on keeping existing network equipment up and running. By replacing that equipment with a set of routers that costs up to 74 percent less to manage, carriers would then free up the budget needed to acquire next-generation routers that provide up to 96 terabits per second of network capacity, which Shetty says is more than enough to meet the streaming video requirements of any mobile computing device.

With the introduction of tablet PCs such as the Apple iPad, stress on mobile computing networks has been steadily mounting, which is one reason that carriers are trying to push bandwidth-intensive traffic onto 802.11n wireless networks. The trouble with that approach is that those wireless networks are not ubiquitous and the performance of an 802.11 wireless network can be highly inconsistent.

In general, carriers have been reluctant to make the necessary upgrades to their networks that will be needed to drive the convergence of mobile and cloud computing. But as this announcement by Cisco alongside previous product launches from other network vendors highlights, it's clear that carriers are starting to run out of excuses.

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