Originally published: August 1, 2011
Last updated: August 1, 2011 - 7:07pm
We've all experienced it on our smartphones: long waits for buffering videos, apps that hiccup when your Net connection cuts out, and webpages that take forever to load. According to experts, what we are experiencing are hints of an impending wireless broadband drought. As smartphones and tablets become ubiquitous and hungry apps greedily gobble bandwidth, the days of cheap and reliable wireless broadband become as rare as a white rhino.
For now, carriers are fighting the future by doing a little of everything. The process of acquiring spectrum and building out networks has been moving forward, but clearly not fast enough to avoid the move to data caps, which some carriers will admit are coming. All of them will tell you that only a very small percentage of users are affected by caps, and it appears that's true -- for now. The question is whether or not that will hold true when the day comes that streaming HD video to a 4G tablet is the most popular after-dinner pastime. If mobile video demand is underestimated, as was the case with mobile signaling, video buffering may replace dropped calls as the bane of wireless life.
- Just Like the Internet You See in the Movies
- Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of World’s Bandwidth, and Gap Is Growing
- Wi-Fi rides to wireless networks' rescue
- Usage-based pricing gets FCC support
- What happens in a news drought?
- Google upgrades YouTube’s ‘engines’
- 86% of U.S. Smartphone Users Would Prefer Fast Video
- Are you getting throttled into paying more for your wireless coverage?
- A Week in Barcelona
- Study Reveals a Confused View of Mobile Phone Privacy and Security
- Americans and Their Cell Phones
- Why Samsung is about to become the smartphone king
- Smartphones: Still Room to Grow in Emerging Countries
- Kids with smartphones: What’s the right age?
- New chips help bring high-definition sound to smartphones and other devices