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May 28, 2015

New Compression Technology Delivers Faster, Cheaper Wi-Fi Experience

The use of mobile technology to access a range of hosted and streaming services is straining the current network infrastructure. As operators try to introduce new approaches for increasing the limitation of their bandwidth, more users are coming online demanding data-driven services, which further exacerbates the infrastructure that is in place. To cope with the demand, operators have been offloading the traffic to small cells at peak usage to ensure their customers continue to have access to the resources they need. One of the alternatives that telecoms are using is Wi-Fi, and Opera Max, a solution introduced by Opera, looks to improve the compression rate of the data that consumers use to increase the speed and extend data plans by up to 50 percent.

Opera Max is designed to manage and save data by shrinking videos, images and media from apps and websites on almost any application with mobile data connections and Wi-Fi. It can condense a 10 MB video down to 3 MB and reduce instances of video buffering. Additionally, the app will give users the option of controlling their mobile data and Wi-Fi data independently with a dedicated “Savings on/off” switch.

This will give users on congested Wi-Fi networks a better experience with faster connections. According to Opera, the app was developed because 80 percent of data usage takes place on Wi-Fi networks. Users will now be able to measure how apps are using their data and track how they behave on this type of network with greater control.

What most mobile users don’t realize is, many different applications run in the background and they are responsible for taking a considerable chunk of data from their plan each month. The App-Blocking feature lets users choose which applications can track them or use data without their permission. Users that don’t want apps tracking and profiling them, now have greater control of their privacy. Stopping these apps also ends the drain they cause on the life of the battery.

The new version of Opera Max has a UI Android users are familiar with so they can navigate the app with greater ease. The improvement also extends to protecting the privacy of users because the app doesn’t optimize encrypted data traveling through a secure connection (HTTPS). Secure data is sent directly to the site or service the device communicates with. The company emphasizes that the app never views the contents or proxies information sent through these connections.

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, mobile Internet access traffic offloaded from mobile networks to Wi-Fi represented 45 percent of total mobile Internet traffic in 2013. And by 2018 it will grow to 52 percent of total mobile Internet access traffic. As the volume of data continues to increase, network operators and software developers need intelligent solutions until the infrastructure undergoes a major upgrade. While Opera Max will not solve all these woes, the compression technology it uses will have enough of an impact to improve the experience of its users.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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