Apple’s iPad and other 3G-connected devices have led the US government to express concern about the level of congestion they could cause on communication networks. Is the iPad a threat to stability?

Phil Bellaria, director of scenario planning for the Obama administration’s Omnibus Broadband Initiative has expressed concerns that the spread of devices like Apple’s iPad will cripple communications networks.

Writing on an official blog, Bellaria described his concerns: “With the iPad pointing to even greater demand for mobile broadband on the horizon we must ensure that network congestion doesn’t choke off a service consumers clearly find so appealing…”

Bellaria refers to network outages that came as result of AOL introducing unlimited internet access in the US in 1996. Users could not connect for months and successful connections were extremely fragile.

AOL solved their problem by seriously upgrading their networks and Bellaria suggest that 3G and Wi-Fi providers will need to do the same to cope with a renewed onslaught from the Apple iPad.

As our current series on Wi-Fi hotspots shows there are big issues with public WiFi in the UK and UK networks have faced criticism of its network from iPhone owners. It seems if upgrades are not undertaken we could all be feeling even more frustrated.

Out April | £TBA | Apple (via TUAW)

  • drewandy

    In the UK, I think that the lack of good 3G coverage is the main reason why video calling on mobiles never really got going.
    The demand for data is moving faster than the networks can.

    • Ben Sillis

      3G is definitely a major cause – but even if it was blanket, I’d still find it very intrusive. Being asked to reveal where you are etc and hold your phone in the right place – even if it was optional you’d still feel compelled it to use it if a friend rang you that way. I’d much rather networks focused on improving audio quality, which thankfully they are beginning to do.

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