SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - Jan 15, 2013) - Experts at mobile broadband developer Stoke have joined forces with communications specialists at the University of Surrey in the UK to investigate the signaling challenges created by the growth of mobile phone use.
The tests use the University's Wireless Network Test-bed research tool, which is a complete, campus-wide research platform that facilitates the evaluation and optimization of communications technologies and enables authoritative investigation of the features of all-IP networks.
The work to investigate the signaling challenges created by the growth of LTE network coverage and use, and the deployment of LTE small cells will be supervised by Professor Rahim Tafazolli, one of the UK's leading communications experts and head of the University's Centre for Communication Systems Research (CCSR), the largest academic mobile/wireless research center in Europe.
LTE technology has been designed for high throughput and with reduced network complexity over previous cellular technologies.
Professor Tafazolli said: "There are massive opportunities and challenges facing the mobile communications sector in the years ahead, with unprecedented growth in mobile data usage and new LTE devices driving revenues, but also putting increased strain on networks. We are pleased to be working with Stoke to illuminate the risk of excessive signaling traffic between LTE radio and core networks."
Many factors are expected to generate additional control plane traffic including the use of small cells to augment LTE spectrum, increase capacity and reduce deployment cost and time. Although LTE usage is still too low and small cell deployments at too early a stage to enable confident predictions about the level of signaling it will generate when it becomes mainstream, the technology is proliferating rapidly.
According to recent industry analyst research, the number of LTE-enabled devices is expected to increase five-fold in 2013 while the number of small cell units sold is forecast to grow nearly 40-fold from 2011 to 2016.
"As the use of 4G/LTE networks increases, one of the biggest concerns for mobile operators is that of scaling the signaling and control plane," said Dave Williams, Chief Technology Officer at Stoke.
He added: "Signaling overloads, as some operators have already found, can take a 4G network down in an instant. The goal of our research is to understand how the volume and mix of traffic, devices, and users in play can affect service availability and what strategies operators might undertake to mitigate the risks.
"The increased use of small cells raises important questions regarding signaling. Stoke and CCSR's research will examine the levels, network architectures and usage scenarios in which signaling loads could strain radio and core network elements, potentially resulting in network outages."
CCSR recently received £35 million from government and enterprise sources including Fujitsu, Huawei, Samsung and Telefonica for mobile technologies research for 5G development. A new centre will be built on campus to house the project.
About Stoke, Inc.
Stoke protects and enhances operator LTE and Wi-Fi service offerings with intelligent gateway solutions positioned in the mobile edge. Stoke Security eXchange™ is the #1 in LTE security gateways deployed worldwide, securing RAN-to-Core communications and protecting mobile core elements. Stoke Wi-Fi eXchange™ simplifies and secures operator authentication and authorization for subscribers connecting to Wi-Fi, and its traffic management capabilities enable Wi-Fi monetization and cost controls. For more information, visit www.stoke.com.