Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Wireless Demand Soon Outstriping Capacity

A new report from the Global Information Industry Center at the University of California, San Diego examines the projected disconnect between U.S. wireless infrastructure capacity and consumer demand. According to “Point of View: Wireless Point of Disconnect,” wireless use is growing rapidly and if present trends continue, demand will often outstrip capacity, causing congestion.

“We’re currently experiencing a mass migration from wired networks to wireless networks, which under the best of circumstances have far less capacity,” said Michael Kleeman, author of the report and senior fellow at UC San Diego.

Wireless is much more convenient than wired connections for many purposes, but “we must understand and accept the trade-offs we will face for the convenience of accessing limited wireless capacity. Alternatively, as citizens we need to dramatically lower our expectations for wireless services in the future.”

Wireless data capacity is inherently different than fiber optic cables, which affects its performance. Among other differences, wireless is allocated a small portion of the available spectrum, and its signals are susceptible to interference from numerous sources, including weather and buildings. According to the report, even with advanced wireless technology, the capacity available to all network users in a given cell can be less than 1/000th the capacity of a fiber optic thread. Wireless demand is also mobile and hard to predict, and when it exceeds capacity the result is dropped connections and slow downloads.

The How Much Information? 2009 American Consumer Report found that in 2008, Americans consumed 3.6 zettabytes of data including nearly five hours of TV viewing per average day. This is more than 3.5 pettabytes per day, which exceeds the wireless data network’s entire 2010 throughput. Increasing use of mobile video will be a major source of growing demand for wireless capacity.

The 2011 “Wireless Point of Disconnect” report highlights three strategies for addressing this disconnect, all of which have drawbacks and tradeoffs. First, a key limiting factor is spectrum, and increasing and optimizing available spectrum are effective ways to increase network capacity. A combination of public and private strategies to optimize spectrum use should be employed and encouraged. However, many of the public solutions will take as much as a decade to implement. Second, carriers will increasingly need to manage traffic and develop triage and prioritization protocols, potentially including pricing-based mechanisms with real-time customer feedback to help manage network load. Third, the industry can invest in more infrastructure, including cell towers and “backhaul” cables. This will require community support.

“There is a lot of discussion about supply-demand issues for broadband Internet, but soon the same questions will be considerably more acute for wireless,” said Roger Bohn, director of the Global Information Industry Center at UC San Diego. “This report shows why future wireless systems will require adjustments, of one kind or another.”

The report is in the Center’s “Point of View” series, which are occasional overviews by noted experts. They address topical issues in technology, business, and public policy.

The report “Point of View: Wireless Point of Disconnect” is available online and can be downloaded in PDF format at

About the Author

Michael Kleeman is involved in several projects involving homeland security and critical infrastructure protection, including "Training and Exercises in California Homeland Security." He has also worked with the California Institute of Telecommunications and Internet Technology at UC San Diego on complex modeling, wireless technology applications, and complex visualization systems. Kleeman is a technology industry strategist whose particular skill is in bridging technical and business issues. For more than 30 years he has been involved in the technology industry in engineering, planning, management, and advisory roles. Formerly a vice president at the Boston Consulting Group, director at Arthur D. Little, and executive at Sprint, Kleeman has been involved with numerous technology companies in North America as advisor and executive. He has most recently served as the co-founder, vice president, and chief technical officer of Cometa Networks, a nationwide 802.11 firm. Kleeman serves as the national chair of Strategy for the American Red Cross and as science advisor for the University of California Center in Sacramento, and on the boards of Equal Access, a not-for-profit providing digital satellite radio services to developing nations and the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. He is also on the advisory council for the San Diego Technology Council. He holds an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and an M.A. from the Claremont Graduate School.

Disclosure: The Global Information Industry Center (GIIC) supported this research. Past and present sponsors of GIIC include AT&T, Cisco Systems, IBM, Intel Corporation, LSI ,Oracle and Seagate Technology.

Rex Graham | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

nachricht Green Light for Galaxy Europe
15.03.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>