Tuesday, November 6, 2012

LTE and video elasticity

I often get asked at events such as Broadband Traffic Management 2012, where I am chairing the mobile video stream this afternoon, "How does video traffic evolves in a LTE network? Won't LTE negate the need for traffic management and video optimization ?".

Jens Schulte-Bockum, CEO of Vodafone Germany shocked the industry last week, indicating that Vodafone Germany traffic in LTE is composed of mobile video for 85%.

I think what most people fail to understand is that video, unlike voice or generic data is elastic. Technologies such as adaptive streaming and source based encoding by content providers means that devices and content providers, given bandwidth will utilize all that is available. 

Device manufacturers implement increasingly aggressive versions of video streaming, grabbing as much bandwidth that is available, independently of video encoding, while content providers tend to offer increasing quality if video, moving from 480p to 720p and 1080p and soon 4K. 
This was corroborated this morning by Eric Klinker, president and CEO of BitTorrent. 

Operators need to understand that video must be managed as an independant service, independently from data and voice as it behaves differently and will "eat up" resources as they are made available.

So the short answer is no, LTE will not solve the issue but rather become a new variable in the equation.