Tablets, smartphones to push wireline networks to 'absolute limits'

As the holiday season winds down and consumers begin using yet another batch of video-enabled devices, the world's wireline networks will be pushed even closer to their finite edge, new research from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) Bell Labs says.

"By 2020 consumers in the United States alone will access seven hours of video each day--as opposed to 4.8 hours today--and will increasingly consume the additional video on tablets, both at home and on the go," an ALU news release said.

Additionally, 70 percent of these same consumers will switch their viewing from broadcast to video-on-demand, as opposed to 33 percent who follow this trend today, the research noted.

While this might seem like bad news for service providers who will see the limits of their networks stretched like shirts after a holiday dinner, it's good news for a vendor like Alcatel-Lucent. And, said Marcus Weldon, Alcatel-Lucent's CTO, it doesn't necessarily have to be bad news for anyone.

"Delivery of video from the cloud and from content delivery networks to tablets, TVs and smartphones--with guaranteed quality--presents an exciting new revenue opportunity for communications service providers, but only if they are prepared to take advantage of it," Weldon cautioned in the news release. "Left unmanaged, the rapid growth in video traffic can turn into a deluge and spell disaster."

Weldon said the Bell Labs research indicates that the IP edge of both wireline and wireless networks "offers the greatest opportunity to improve network performance [and] presents the greatest source of risk if not managed appropriately."

The research also pointed out that it is not only the new devices which will impact video traffic but also the increased adoption of new ways of viewing that content--such as HD VOD--that will cause peak hour traffic at the edge of IP networks to growth 2.5 times faster than the amount of traffic on broadband connections reaching the homes.

"This challenge will need to be addressed comprehensively if communications service providers are to maintain their ability to deliver high quality residential multimedia services to customers," the news release concluded.

For more:
- Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs issued this press release

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