Ericsson enlists Akamai to speed up the mobile Web

Content caching model could help providers of Web applications and content bypass Internet tolls from wireless network providers

Organizations struggling to deliver mobile content and services to end-users quickly and reliably may have an alternative to paying wireless network providers for extra bandwidth: Telecom technology provider Ericsson has teamed with Internet acceleration specialist Akamai to help businesses speed up mobile content transport through caching.

The companies' vision, shared at Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, is to build content delivery networks composed of base stations on the edge of wireless networks. The base stations would serve as caches for mobile content and services from various types of providers, from network operators to websites to enterprises. Thanks to caching, the mobile data reaches users' devices more quickly than if they were coming all the way from the content providers via wireless network providers' pipelines.

Internet acceleration via caching represents a goodly portion of Akamai's bread and butter; the company claims to deliver 30 percent of all Web content via caches on the edge of the fixed Internet. This foray into the world of wireless is new. Ericsson, meanwhile, foresees smartphone usage increasing as much as five times by 2016, with traffic swelling about 30-fold. This sort of mobile acceleration platform could help keep those mobile bits flowing quickly and maintain service quality as mobile computing becomes increasingly instrumental to both personal and business tasks.

One of the key benefits for organizations that embrace this type of CDN is that they may not be quite so much at the mercy of the major wireless providers; that is, rather than having to pay, say, AT&T or Verizon, for using extra bandwidth to deliver data-intensive services (such as video streaming), a company could work with Ericsson and leverage caching to delivery content more quickly without extra bandwidth.

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