Transport hubs creating network stress (try being a passenger)

Features

Train station generating 20,000 data sessions an hour  - Actix

Operators and their customers know that train stations and transport hubs form the worst network capacity hotspots, but data collected by network optimisation company Actix may surprise even some mobile network operations teams as to the scale of the issue.

Analysing data from one un-named major city network (Mobile Europe's guess is that it is on a US network), Actix found that demand at peak time was leading to 75-90% of users being unable to connect to even a basic browsing session, and to a "stressed" network dumping thousands of users off the network.

Actix data showed that subscribers at major commuter train stations were generating 10,000 data session requests every thirty minutes, "seriously stressing" the network, Neil Coleman, VP of marketing at Actix, said.

Demand at evening peak hours at train stations was often 100 times greater than in a cell located just 100m away, Coleman said. Even at non-peak times transport hubs can generate 13 times the load of neighbouring cells.

"These findings show that highly localised indoor data hotspots are the new norm”, said Richard Kateley Actix’s CTO.  “Addressing this demand often requires small cell and Het Net solutions – but to deploy them successfully operators need to quantify the exact nature and location of demand.”

In terms of overall usage, Actix found that between 80-95% of mobile traffic from smartphones and tablets comes from indoor usage, depending on the device profile. For example, 95% of iPad traffic is generated indoors, whilst 90% of iPhone4 and 80% of traffic from Blackberry devices is from indoor use.

“It  is only by studying live traffic data that operators can understand the implications for their network plans,” said Bill McHale, CEO of Actix.