Mobile network traffic jams expected with future cars

21 May 2015

A future of inter-connected cars talking with one another will lead to critical stress on mobile phone networks during peak times, with a 97pc increase in data traffic over the next 10 years expected.

The findings came following the publication of a report commissioned by network assurance and analytics company TEOCO and undertaken by Machina Research, which showed that our cars will be more critical to telecommunication network infrastructure than mobile phones.

According to Machina Research’s estimations, the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will rise from 250m in 2014, to 2.3bn by 2024 worldwide.

However, the firm said that while M2M connections will make up just 4pc of data traffic in less than 10 years’ time, network traffic jams caused by literal traffic jams could put incredible strain on cellular networks.

Matt Hatton, founder and CEO of Machina Research, explained: “In terms of overall data volumes, connected cars don’t present much of a problem. But network resource management is not based on total traffic volume, it’s based on particular cell sites during peak times of network use.

“If connected cars regularly cause network traffic spikes in a particular location that can’t be met, there are implications for operators in meeting SLAs and delivering a positive quality of experience.”

In essence, the introduction of a large number of M2M connections will create ‘unusual demands’ on networks and the cellular providers will need to be ready for it.

“In all cases, operators will need to identify where and when the network traffic is generated, measure the volume, and analyse the type of traffic as well,” said Steve Bowker, TEOCO’s VP for technology and strategy. “They’ll need to more seriously consider how to cope with these demands for reduced latency, higher bandwidth, more signalling and higher QoS. This requires a more sophisticated and comprehensive approach to mobile network planning.”

Among the suggestions offered by TEOCO are greater diversity in access networks, more sophisticated planning tools and an increased focus on device management.

Traffic jam image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic