Are you looking for information about offers, devices or your account?

Please choose your local Vodafone website

Vodafone and Broadcom develop solution to reduce the impact of infinite scroll on network quality and consumer behaviour

27 Feb 2024Technology news
3 minute read

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024, the two companies are demonstrating how to maintain great network performance for customers against the glut of bandwidth-consuming short video clips.

Vodafone and VMware, recently acquired by Broadcom, have co-developed a new technology that allows content providers to quickly adapt to real-life network conditions by better controlling the amount of unsolicited content and pre-fetched short form videos they send to consumers.

Many of these videos consume valuable mobile network resources (and significant energy) that could be redirected to improve the overall customer experience and better serve critical applications.

The proof-of-concept developed by Vodafone and VMware showcases the benefits of applying programmability and intelligence into the Radio Access Network (RAN) to enable communication between networks and content providers. This allows content providers to take the initiative on how and when to use prefetching. This will save both energy and mobile network bandwidth and could help limit the impact of ‘infinite scroll’ which can keep users online longer unnecessarily.

Infinite scroll

Infinite scroll was designed to make web browsing more seamless by doing away with separate pages and enabling continuous scrolling of a web page. The feature has become ubiquitous for many short-form video Apps which ‘prefetch’ the next few videos before the user scrolls down to view them. The user doesn’t have to refresh or click through to a new page to view the next video, nor waste time waiting for the next content to be downloaded. There are clear benefits for the users, and yet uncontrolled prefetching is bad.

Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone’s Director of Network Architecture, explained: “Many online Apps decide what the user should view next, and while this may improve the user experience in terms of minimising waiting time, uncontrolled pre-fetching also has undesired consequences.

“A significant portion of this type of content downloaded across the network is neither used nor watched. It becomes wasted traffic that consumes network resources and energy for no purpose.”

Network API

More effective use of prefetching by content providers that considers network resources and real time network conditions before they push more unsolicited traffic can improve the user experience for many more people. This is where Vodafone and VMware come in. Their solution uses a proof-of-concept network API (application programming interface) software on Vodafone’s network, combined with VMware’s RAN Intelligent Controller.

The API gives content providers a real-time technical view of network conditions, such as congestion at busy locations like train stations or areas with low coverage which may impact a customer, so they can set the appropriate parameters. The information is purely technical and does not contain any customer information.

Vodafone estimates that up to 20% of the traffic that flows through a mobile base station may correspond to unsolicited content that no one ever uses or gets to see.

Vodafone and Broadcom develop solution to reduce the impact of infinite scroll on network quality and consumer behaviour

Web Waste

Santiago Tenorio continued: “If a restaurant cooked and served me every dish on the menu as soon as I sat down, although I only had the appetite for one, that would be a waste. In the same way, uncontrolled prefetching is leading to web waste. Capacity that could be better deployed serving other users for more important matters is going on addictive and unnecessary content.

“We want to help content providers to fine-tune their services to consumer’s actual needs.”

VMware also points out that the aim of its technical collaboration with Vodafone is to improve the overall quality of network performance. These data-intensive services require a new methodology and approach for organizing traditional wireless networks.

“We’re committed to further empowering our customers to deliver new services on a software-defined programmable network enabled by the VMware RAN Intelligent Controller,” said Padma Sudarsan, chief of architecture, Telco, Software-Defined Edge Division, Broadcom.

This Network Programmability proof-of-concept can be seen on both the VMware stand (Hall 3, Stand 3M11) as well as the Vodafone stand located in Hall 3, Stand 3E11.

  • Technology
  • 5G
  • Apps
  • Consumers
  • Infrastructure
  • MWC
  • Networks
  • OpenRAN
  • SDGs
  • SDG 9

More stories

No results found