The World Cup is the only sporting event that has millions of viewers worldwide glued to their TV screens for about a month. But I wonder, are all viewers still watching the matches on TV, or are they resorting to their smartphones, tablets, and pc’s?
The time difference between the host country and the rest of the world makes it difficult for millions of viewers to watch all the matches sitting comfortably on their home couch in front of their TV’s during the evening prime time hours. In addition to the time difference there might be other unexpected events that could happen while sitting in front of a TV, just like the episode I recently experienced.
A couple of days ago, right before my country Italy’s big match, I was out in my front yard talking to my neighbors, sharing predictions on the match, commenting on what the TV sports anchors were predicting, but suddenly our excitement was toned down by a major thunderstorm that was quickly approaching.
Unfortunately at times, thick clouds weaken satellite TV signal reception, and that thunderstorm did not look good. The sky became dark, and lightning started to strike.
Panic and desperation hit all of us; Italy vs Uruguay was about to start and the satellite TV signal was failing us. Luckily our satellite provider was also broadcasting the game on its “sky go” mobile app, which I have on my iPad.
And here we were, cheering in front of a different type of screen with HD quality, on a mobile device connecting via Wi-Fi through my broadband modem.
But panic quickly set in again over concerns for my provider’s network; what if it overloaded, what if it crashed? If that happened we would have been left with one option, 3G connection as 4G is not yet available in my area.
The network did not crash but my Wi-Fi connection dropped because of a short power outage due to the ongoing thunderstorm that killed the power to my modem. My tablet switched to 3G immediately, the video and audio quality was still good. 3G saved our lives!
Mobile connectivity made it possible for us to watch the game, and probably for millions of other viewers that like us did not have access to a TV. But then I wondered, what if more and more viewers joined in via their mobile devices, the data and signaling traffic created by these devices would grow, was my operator’s 3G network able to handle this? What if I had 4G?
What I find amazing is that I along with millions of others have more access options for connectivity to live video than ever before that include satellite, Wi-Fi, broadband, 3G and in some areas 4G. And the number of devices I can use to watch events like the World Cup have grown as well. More people are watching the World Cup over smart phones and laptops who were previously limited only to their TVs. This connectivity requires control plane signaling to manage access, data plane setup mobility, handover, handback as well as authetication, authorization, policy and charging. The number of these signaling events are increasing dramatically as mobile data traffic increases, and popular events like World Cup games can cause large spikes in signaling in both the access and the core networks.
There is a really good webinar Dialogic recently did with Infonetics on signaling control in mobile networks. In the webinar, Dialogic discussed the need for interworking to support seamless roaming scenarios between access technologies. Dialogic also shared insight on strategies to better manage the growing amount of signaling traffic and to better handle this complex interplay of signaling traffic between networks.
Anyway, my operator’s network delivered, my team did not; it let down millions of viewers, but that’s part of the World Cup!
And you, what device are you using to watch the World Cup? Take our poll!