Connected Cars Could Face 'Data' Traffic Jam

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 22, 2015


Connected cars has both its pros and cons. And while it may help drivers to avoid traffic jams, there are possibilities that it may lead to congestions in the mobile networks. A recent whitepaper states that spikes in network traffic stemming from the use of connected cars could lead to various issues for mobile operators over the next one decade, which in turn would hamper their ability to provide mainstream services.

According to Machina Research, which conducted the study expects certain cells to see as much as 97 percent increase in data traffic during rush-hour periods, when drivers of connected vehicles are traveling to and from work. “Potentially it could be a very painful thing if you have knock-on effects on existing services,” said Matt Hatton, the founder and CEO of Machina, said in a statement.

The study predicts that M2M applications will account for just 4 percent of the overall traffic on cellular networks over the next 10 years. In certain areas and at certain times, however, there could be major congestion resulting from specific types of service.

As Steve Bowker of analytics company Teoco Corp, which commissioned the study explained, if there is a traffic issue, children in connected cars may all start watching videos at the same time, creating a hotspot in that area and this “clustering” effect could have ramifications for various parts of the mobile network.

If twice as many devices are trying to access services as an operator would typically expect, the radio access network may struggle to cope, while the signaling “overheads” associated with M2M devices could lead to core network problems, he said.

The researchers insist the expense of adapting networks is negligible compared with the potential cost of doing nothing, which may reassure operators given the low revenues associated with M2M services.

The study states that if M2M devices regularly generate spikes in usage in a particular location which cannot be met, there are implications for customer satisfaction, and even the risk of non-compliance with service level agreements.

A more dynamic network management and RAN optimization, as well as greater focus on device management would help in reducing these troubles, according to Machina, which forecasts there will be 2.3 billion cellular M2M connections worldwide by 2024, with connected cars accounting for about half of the total.