Optus is considering using web accelerator technology widely across its 3G mobile network to increase the speed its customers can access websites on increasingly popular data-rich devices like the iPhone.
The carrier started looking at accelerators, also known as proxies, midway through last year, Optus mobile network director Andrew Smith told ZDNet.com.au. That period had been busy for the carrier, with the company launching its popular iPhone offers.
Unexpected demand for wireless internet services created congestion issues in certain areas which had Optus scrambling to increase capacity. Since then, the company has increased transmission backhaul and upped the capacities of its sites.
"Through the course of last year we've made a number of improvements," Smith said, adding that using an accelerator was just another way the company could increase the speed of browsing on its network.
In November, iPhone customers were transferred in batches to having their HTTP web traffic routed through the accelerator. Now the web traffic for all handsets is being routed through, achieving a 10 to 50 per cent improvement in downloading web pages. "Since we did it, we've been listening to customers," Smith said. "They've noticed the difference."
There were only a few services for which traffic wasn't being routed through, with RIM's BlackBerry services, which mainly use WAP gateways, being the major ones left out. "At the moment we're focusing on the devices that get the most benefit," Smith said.
Accelerators work by stripping out unnecessary IP transactions, caching and protecting against packet loss. "By sending less redundant data, there's more time for the real data," Smith said.
While spartan sites such as Google search wouldn't be improved much, busy sites would see a large improvement, according to the Optus executive.
Optus has been pleased with the result, and is now considering whether to scale up use of the accelerator platform to support higher volumes of data.