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Brocade warns of threats to 4G mobile broadband potential

Friday, January 20th 2012
Outdated IT networks could hold back 4G mobile broadband services.
Brocade warns of threats to 4G mobile broadband potential
The full potential of super-fast 4G mobile broadband will not be realised unless "legacy internet protocol (IP)" networks are upgraded, according to networking solutions firm Brocade.

Marcus Jewell, country manager for the UK and Ireland at Brocade, said media coverage on the upcoming rollout of 4G services has tended to address the benefits offered by the technology and the winners and losers among the network operators.

However, in a column for Business Computing World, he argued that "enormous strain" will be put on the country's existing infrastructure as a result of the "deluge of data" that will be caused by the availability of faster mobile broadband.

Unless action is taken to future-proof the country's underlying IT infrastructure, the current limitations of 3G connectivity - namely slow download speeds - will persist, Mr Jewell predicted.

The Brocade chief explained the problems "will merely be shifted from the airwaves into the data centre".

"This issue is compounded when one takes into account how users' expectations have changed over the last few years. These days, users don't just want internet access - they demand a seamless, high-availability service that conveys a great user experience," he said.

Without sufficient preparation to handle the rise in data consumption, Mr Jewell claimed bottlenecks and breakdowns on IT networks will become "inevitable", ultimately affecting the mobile browsing experience.

Chokepoints, vulnerabilities and outdated IP equipment must all be resolved if users are to enjoy the benefits of reliable and high-performance services such as mobile video streaming, the expert insisted.

According to Ofcom, demand for mobile data is set to rise by more than 500 per cent in western Europe over the next five years.

Some 17 per cent of UK households used mobile broadband to access the internet between September and December 2010, the regulator revealed, with seven per cent relying on the technology as their only means of getting online.

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