June 24, 2016 | PARLAcom

Research and Analysts Firm IDATE reported that the total number of mobile connections will exceed 8 billion globally by 2019. The firm stated that the number of mobile users will grow more than 21 percent in the next five years. The total number of mobile subscribers in the United Kingdom alone is expected to grow 1.3 million from 85.3 million in the same period of time, 2013 to 2018. Even fixed internet subscribers are also set to grow at a rate of 18%. If this so, the Internet of Things and M2M communications is also expected to expand exponentially, as a ripple effect of this kind of growth in the mobile communications industry. IoT and M2M are pegged at 26 billion connected devices by 2020.

With this enormous growth in mobile connectivity and yet the still rapidly increasing demand for data, there is an impending question as to whether the current system and network can deliver this much bandwidth. Of course, several efforts from various sectors have been made in preparation for the data surge that is expected in the very near future. Many of which are from mobile operators and network providers migrating systems from 3G networks to 4G LTE and eventually shutting down 2G networks, to accommodate M2M Technology. However, the migration may not be completed before this data consumption explosion.

As of today, legacy devices are still using 2G networks when the 3G network is not available. Although, 2G network may soon be phased out as more 3G and 4G networks arise, this may not occur anytime soon due to issues with provisioning and logistics. In addition, 4G LTE deployments just recently started in Europe and some areas in the US. Verizon LTE claims to cover 110 million US residents currently and its 3G coverage reaches about 290 million. Meanwhile, AT&T who announced shutdown of their 2G networks by 2017, aims to provide all 3G covered areas with 4G services by 2013. It is important to note that having dual mode devices is still critical to mobile and M2M communication, and the number of LTE-capable systems deployed may not be enough to address problems with highly-congested networks.

One of the leading solutions providers of Self Organizing Network solutions, Cellwize agrees that the current setup may not be sufficient to support consumer’s interest in IoT devices responsible for smart technologies such as connected cars, connected homes and connected consumers. They noted that some mobile operators may struggle to deliver the necessary bandwidth to their subscribers which may eventually cause more frustration. In order to manage network congestion and ensure SLAs (Service Level Agreements) of these M2M devices, Cellwize believes that mobile network operations will need a Centralized SON solution. Being one of the leading providers of SON solutions, they highlighted how Cellwize elastic SON has cut down network congestion to 90 percent, allowing much smoother IoT and M2M data traffic. It reroutes resources real time to help 2G networks manage data surges from M2M devices and connections more efficiently with its Dynamic Load Balancing and Coverage Capacity Optimization.

“M2M and IoT technology has grown rapidly – but some mobile networks have not evolved. With IoT set to increase 2G data traffic, it is vital that operators are able to optimize and address capacity across all access networks to ensure their subscribers receive the best quality of service possible.” Cellwize CEO, Ofir Zemer said.

And while the rest of the world prepares for the Internet of Things’ full realization, Self Organizing Network solutions may be the answer to the current data congestion. At least before mobile network providers complete the transition from 3G to LTE.