Optus trialling 3G web accelerator

Optus trialling 3G web accelerator

Summary: 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.


Credit: Apple

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.

Topics: Telcos, Mobility, Networking, Optus

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Logic fail?

    If the bottleneck is the cell site bandwidth and/or backhaul, how will caching improve the situation at all?

    Given the dynamic nature of most popular websites these days I really fail to see how proxying can provide any benefit at all, particularly if the internet portion of the network isn't the cause of slowdowns...
  • Logic More

    They might be caching closer to the cell site so there is less congestion, or possibly using some caching method to decrease the load on the backhaul links.
  • Dynamic pages still contain static content

    Dynamic pages contain static content, sometimes quite a lot of it, including image files, sound files, video files, static frame content and javascript and stylesheets.

    So it seems likely to me that you will still get an improvement in performance.
  • voice

    Can they do something about cross lines (i don't wish to listen to other peoples conversations) and garbled "scrambled like sounds" during calls as well as redirections to unknown mailboxes when calling or not ringing at the other end when it seems to be ringing on your own phone.
  • Sound's good BUT.

    They need to fix there 3g network 1st.. (Newcastle/Hunter)
  • proxy

    so what exactly does "stripping out unnecessary IP transactions" mean....
  • Playing catchup to Next G!!

    All very good but I know which netowrk will stand the test of time....you only get what you pay for and with BOPTUS its chaep....
  • not just caching.

    I believe you will find it is more than just caching, I suspect they are recompressing images at lower quality and compressing web pages.
  • Optus.....

    Face it - it's crap. Why not increase the damn speed Optus, you CHEAP BASTARDS!
  • Sure they can

    Pick up the phone and report a crossed line fault.