Can compression help mobile broadband crunch?

If the pipes are too small and what’s going through them too big which is the case on many mobile data networks (hey AT&T, how’s that iPhone traffic treating you?) then wouldn’t it make sense to add some compression algorithms to the mix?veraz.gif

It makes sense certainly, and something operators not to mention mobile phone users have experimented with. On the vendor side, players like OpenWave and Bytemobile offer network-based solutions that operators can deploy to “optimize” mobile data delivery via a variety of techniques. Meanwhile, a handful of mobile Web browsers, such as Skyfire, have tried to drive compression right down to the handset, utilizing proxy servers and compression algorithms on the back-end and specialty browser clients on the phone.

Do bandwidth optimization techniques taken from the VoIP world have something to offer to the equation?

That’s the thinking from Veraz Networks, best known for selling softswitches in competition with rivals like Metaswitch, Sonus and Broadsoft not to mention larger network equipment manufacturers.

Veraz’s other big product is a so-called “bandwidth optimization” box that VoIP providers use to slash the amount of bandwidth needed to deliver voice services, often by 70% or more. Now Veraz is hearing from its customers “that we love what you’ve been doing with voice [compression]; now we have a similar problem with mobile data,” said Gus Elmer, Veraz’s director of marketing.

While noting that solutions do exist from squeezing mobile data, Veraz thinks it has the technology and relationships with operator customers to make a play in this market. It isn’t ready to announce its product strategy, but look for more on this front from Veraz in 2010, Elmer said. “What carriers are interested in is a systemantic approach they can control” while mimizing bit delivery and keeping the user experience high, he said.

Like many vendors, Veraz has seen operators pull back spending significantly in 2009 particularly on larger, more strategic projects. It’s made due with opportunistic sales, including deals for session border controllers and its new SIP interconnect gateway for IP PBXs.

It’s hoping to leverage its bandwidth optimization experience into another ready-and-waiting market.

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