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Bad Video

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In my last post, I wrote about how my 15 year old daughter is consuming more and more Internet video, and becoming more and more mobile – a potentially scary situation for my wallet.  Mobile service providers are also concerned at the rising cost of video, especially Over-The-Top (OTT) video, for which they receive no incremental revenue.

Imagine if every cell tower had a big switch on a dial.  BTW, this is not a recommended product enhancement!  The dial goes from 100% to 0%, and represents the amount of video traffic that the cell site will permit to be transmitted.  Currently, in the average network, that dial would be set to between 30 and 50%.  Let’s turn that dial to 100%.  The video wouldn’t be affected, but voice and text messages sure would be, especially if any of the video consumers move into areas of poor coverage – the TCP retransmits and acks would eat the RAN alive.

Let’s now turn the dial to 0%, which could just as well be labeled “2G”.  No video gets through.  The network is certainly uncongested, and much less expensive to operate.  But the video quality is also 0%, and the subscribers who bought a 3G or 4G service are understandably annoyed.

So here is the balance that needs to be achieved in optimizing video – quality, cost and abundance.  Consumers want the video to be freely available, with a quality experience, and service providers and their shareholders want the cost to be constrained.  While a good mobile video solution balances all three, a great one reduces the cost, while at the same time increasing the quality and abundance.

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