According to an analysis of the issue at Telecom Tech, the use of mobile devices is set to increase through 2018 – so much so that it could hinder the uptime of future Internet of things (IoT) applications.
The tech news site points out that recent research from IDATE, a telecommunications research and analysis company, says the number of mobile users could reach eight billion by 2019, so over the span of the next five years, the number of mobile users could increase as much as 21 percent. This comes in addition to the growth of fixed Internet users, Telecom Tech says, that will also increase in the coming years; between 2013 and 2018, analysts predict that this market segment will grow by 18 percent.
Other research by network solutions provider Cellwize compounds the issue by stating that mobile operators could see a failure rate of IoT applications as high as 30 percent because of network congestion. This is not simply a result of increase mobile device usage as it relates to handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. The number of IoT devices may also increase – an expected 26 billion units globally by 2020, says Cellwize – and this could create a disastrous chain of device failures due to overwhelming load on 3G and 2G networks.
The 3G-based cellular networks can inherently hold and deliver more bandwidth than the legacy 2G. However, when 3G networks become overloaded, mobile carriers often fall back to 2G, and if 2G cannot hold 3G's displaced load, then customers may drop calls and have their service disrupted while IoT applications witness failure across the board.
This is the biggest challenge the IoT is facing with regard to load handling: the switch to 3G or better. Faster, more advanced networks can deal with large amounts of traffic better than legacy systems. Although mobile providers are trying to place customers on 4G, statistics show that, by 2018, 4G will only make up about two-thirds of the world's cellular traffic. Analysis shows that 4G will pass 3G, and therefore 2G will fall even farther by the wayside, but the growing number of mobile users and IoT devices could outpace network transitions to newer technologies.