Although most agree that mobile cloud computing holds a great promise for delivering cloud solutions to individuals and even critical corporate applications to employees by enabling access from anywhere, there are still several barriers that need to be addressed to elevate its usefulness and capabilities. For mobile cloud computing to reach its full potential, the following three critical challenges need to be addressed, as detailed in a recent article by Bryan Betts:
- Lowering network latency to meet application and code offload interactivity
- Increasing network bandwidth for faster data transfer between the cloud and devices
- Providing adaptive monitoring of network conditions to optimize network and device costs against the user’s perceived performance of cloud applications
None of these are easy to accomplish, but service and network providers are already making important steps to improve the mobile cloud experience.
Overcoming latency limitations
Latency increases with distance, and the number of network nodes that the data needs to pass. As a result, moving applications as close to the user as possible decreases latency effects. There are examples of providers taking steps to address this. Ericsson, for example, made a strategic partnership with Akamai earlier this year which will enable service providers that run on Ericsson infrastructure to route internet traffic intelligently based on user location and add caching capabilities to a mobile network. This technology is expected to increase user experience and advance mobile e-commerce and banking. Dynamically moving the data towards the mobile user is clearly the best way to minimize latency issues and save bandwidth.
Improving bandwidth utilization
More and more mobile service providers have started offering 4G/LTE mobile services within restricted areas. One of the greatest advantages of LTE is capacity. Each LTE cell supports up to four times the data and voice capacity when compared to HSPA (UMTS High-Speed-Packet-Access). Other advantages include low latency, plug and play, and support for both frequency division multiplexing (FDD) and time division duplexing (TDD) in the same platform. In theory, LTE is capable of downlink peak rates of 100 Mbps and an uplink of at least 50 Mbps. Similar to GSM and UMTS, LTE operates at different frequency bands and can be deployed in clear spectrum with bandwidth as wide as 20 MHz of paired spectrum (20 MHz Uplink, 20 MHz Downlink). The high bandwidth of a single carrier radio can deliver unparalleled economies when
Dynamic Network Monitoring
Several new technologies promise a more intelligent deployment of network resources and may minimize latency. For example, HTML5 offers data caching , allowing users to experience fewer problems due to intermittent network performance or network congestion. When it comes to the mobile cloud, network performance management becomes increasingly important. Better mobile network monitoring systems enable dynamic traffic re-routing and swapping, or handover, between cells based on traffic load patterns and user location.
All these will help to improve the mobile cloud user experience and make it more viable for corporations that are interested in providing mobile access to many of their core applications.