Faster connections, longer-lasting batteries: A fifth of all smartphones now benefit from Network Controlled Fast Dormancy

By admin on Mon 28 November, 2011

A European 3G network is benefiting from a 30% signaling traffic reduction, three months after Network Controlled Fast Dormancy (NCFD) was implemented by Nokia Siemens Networks. That’s good news for mobile operators as up to 20% of all smartphones in 3G networks are now NCFD-enabled. NCFD combats the near-constant signaling from smartphones on mobile broadband networks. Nokia and Apple decided early on to support NCFD on their smartphones, with Blackberry and Android OS device manufacturers like Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson following suit. If your smartphone also appears to be lasting longer on a single charge after a day of hitting the web, congratulations – you may be using your NCFD-enabled phone in a Nokia Siemens Networks-supported 3G network.

Smartphones have an impressive repertoire of functions and features and support applications such as IM, push email, social networking or Voice over IP (VoIP) services. Such applications have the proclivity to maintain “heart-beat” connectivity with the network by sending messages as often as every 30 or 60 seconds. Nokia Siemens Networks’ Smart Labs* tested popular over-the-top (OTT) VoIP applications running on different smartphone operation systems. One of the results was the huge signaling load caused by VoIP applications in non-NCFD enabled smartphones – 600% more signaling traffic. (For more information on the topic, see our recent blog post on VoIP.)

Since smartphones aren’t yet smart enough to predict when you’ll need a wireless connection, they switch into an idle state when not in use, then reconnect as needed. This takes time, creates small bits of unnecessary network congestion and invariably causes drains on the handset’s battery. Standardized in 3GPP Release 8, Nokia Siemens Networks’ Network Controlled Fast Dormancy or NCFD aids by acting as a more intermediate state: one with less signaling and faster reconnections.

People whose smartphones support NCFD actually benefit twice: First, it takes them less time to reconnect to the mobile Internet. Second, their phones consume less power when doing so, which in turn doubles their battery lifetime. So when your smartphone is really smart and supports Network Controlled Fast Dormancy, you get your browsing results faster than others and can also stay away from the power supply for much longer.

*To cooperate with device and OS vendors as well as application developers, and study application behavior in a “real” network environment, Nokia Siemens Networks created Smart Labs in Dallas, Texas, USA; Espoo, Finland; Seoul, South Korea; and, jointly with Telefónica and Nokia, the ‘Smartphone Experience Lab’ in Madrid, Spain.

This post is by Gerald Reddig from Mobile Broadband Marketing.

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