By Patrick Tan, General Manager, Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent
We are often asked to quantify how subscriber network usage differs from 3G to 4G/LTE. In the next few Analytics Beat blog posts, we will use information from our 9900 Wireless Network Guardian to compare volume, application usage, signaling, and devices across these two technologies in North America.
Besides the obvious gain in speed from 3G to 4G LTE – on average LTE networks are 7 times faster – the most noticeable difference is volume. Our data shows that on average, an LTE user consumes 46 MB per day, more than doubling the consumption of a 3G user at 17 MB per day (almost a 168% increase). We initially thought this swell in volume would coincide with a corresponding increase in signaling (the number of radio connection setups) and airtime (the time spent holding the radio connection) too. However, as our team of network forensics experts has found many times, the results are not always necessarily straightforward. Our studies uncovered that while volume increased, airtime only increased by 26%, and signaling posted a mere 13% increase.
In this post, we focus our attention on understanding differences in application popularity and the contributors to the volume difference. Here are our findings: