With LTE and 4G mobile networks set to be the big theme of Mobile World Congress, Juniper Networks is planning to show how operators will be able to prolong the life of existing 3G networks while LTE gets established.
"The new fancy handsets use a lot of bandwidth. Operators are struggling to keep up with bandwidth usage, which means they have to invest in new networks, but this is becoming a very big problem as data does not generate much revenue for the operator," says Gijs van Kersen at Juniper Networks.
Juniper Networks believes LTE is a mid to long-term investment for the operators. In the UK, Ofcom has delayed its auction of the 2.6GHz radio spectrum used by LTE for 4G mobile networks, which means users are likely to continue to access 3G networks at least for the next 12 months.
With bandwidth usage on the increase, Kersen says operators cannot afford to wait for LTE. Instead, they need to invest in optimising existing 3G networks for mobile data access.
The company has expanded its core router product, the MX family, with software dubbed Traffic Direct. Kersen says this examines traffic in a mobile network and intelligently routes data at the application level, so that users' mobile data access does not impact the operator's datacentre. In effect, Traffic Direct separates users' internet access from Instead the network traffic required for making calls.
"In our analysis, Traffic Direct can save 70% in [datacentre] equipment, a further 65% on costs and a 60% saving in bandwidth," Kersen said.
Juniper Networks has also tied up with content delivery network Ankeena to improve the speed at which popular multimedia content such as YouTube videos can be transmitted to users. Through its Media Flow technology, Juniper Networks uses Ankeena as a cache to store popular content closer to the mobile user, which speeds up access.
Finally, by 2011, Kersen says Juniper Networks will be able to upgrade MX routers to LTE.