’Smart push’ solves data traffic explosion
Mobile carriers have found a solution for heavy data traffic incurred by messenger services and social networking services; they are setting up “push servers.”
With the introduction of smartphones, data traffic jams have become a headache for mobile carriers. Few people, however, would think that messenger services like Kakao Talk incur a lot of traffic. The problems are usually thought to stem from video streaming and downloads.
With messenger services, smartphones send and receive “keep-alive” signals to and from servers, even when the user isn’t sending messages or using social networking services. It has to continually check whether the user is “alive” to receive the message. According to SK Telecom, smartphones usually receive from 20 to over 50 keep-alive signals an hour.
This consumes much of the smartphone battery and incurs too much data usage. The problem becomes especially serious when the server is in trouble. Even when the server of the messenger or social networking service stops, the handset continues sending signals. When the server is activated again, the numerous keep-alive signals arrive at the same time, overloading the mobile carrier’s network.
SK Telecom adopts “Smart Push”
The problem was more serious for SK Telecom, the country’s biggest mobile carrier, while its competitor KT, meanwhile, was relatively safe from it. This has to do with the iPhone.
There is no such problem for iPhone users as Apple is operating its own integrated signaling server. It can limit and control the timing and amount of signaling between smartphones and the server.
In case of Android phones, messenger and social networking services weigh on mobile carriers’ networks due to a lack of such buffer servers. As mobile carriers suffer data traffic jams due to the increasing use of these services, there was even speculation that they may ban Kakao Talk.
KT had less of a problem in this regard as it had a higher ratio of iPhone users. KT was the first to introduce the globally successful Apple smartphone in the country, and was the sole supplier of the iPhone here until early this year.
SK Telecom had a higher ratio of Android users, and this prompted the carrier to introduce “Smart Push” services in May on Kakao Talk.
Smart Push integrates and manages keep-alive signals between smartphones and messenger and social networking services at a separate server. The push server located between the two parties collects and sends signals between them instead of leaving them endlessly transmitting between themselves. It thus diminishes unnecessary signals, lessening the burden on the network.
SK Telecom says that it cut electricity consumption by messenger services by over 70 percent.
It expanded the application of Smart Push to other messenger and social networking services, such as “Me Today” of NHN and “NateOn Talk” of SK Communications.
SK Telecom said it suffered no overload of its network after introducing it, and added that it plans to open the Smart Push technology to major global carriers so that they can handle similar situations.
Though it suffered less, KT has also set up push message signaling servers for messenger and social networking services.