Blog Post

Why Commuters Hate Your Mobile Site

Learn some of the most effective ways to alleviate infrastructure stress and increase page speed at the same time.

With such quick and easy access to game scores, directions, video streaming, photo sharing, and up-to-the-moment news, mobile web is being consumed at a frenzied pace.  Internet usage has doubled in the last 5 years and Mobile Web usage is growing 8x faster than web.  What’s the result of this consumption explosion?

Mobile Internet is slowing down, and you’re one of the millions of reasons why.  That occasional spotty web connection wasn’t because you entered a dreaded Internet dead zone.  Quite the opposite.  You experienced latency because you logged on when millions of others did, during a usage peak zone.

The staggering mobile web usage growth is putting a strain on wireless networks, pushing their capacity limits and causing customers to experience slower data speeds.  Over capacity, 4G and LTE connections are downgraded to 3G, and it happens often.

Verizon admitted they were having such issues in big cities last November.  Data collected by our agents on Verizon Wireless clearly shows that latency increases and performance drops during peak wireless usage hours.  Connection speed slows by as much as 60 times (from 61 ms to 3,680 ms) in the morning and early evening when everyone is off from work and school.


The chart shows Google’s homepage performance from NYC on Verizon 4G.   The affected periods are obvious when looking at the average connect time by hour of day.

Calling all Development, Ops, and DevOps pros – the Mobile web needs you!

While wireless networks will expand their capacity to handle the surging consumption, we can’t be certain the providers will be able to keep up with the rise in usage.   However, web professionals at companies producing and storing content can reduce stress on the networks by decreasing the bandwidth impact of the design and operations of their internet services.

But why should we care about the shared infrastructure?  Isn’t that the job of ISPs?

Because our interests are the same, offer faster content to end users while managing costs.  Fortunately, some of the most effective ways to alleviate infrastructure stress are also best practices for increasing page speed.  Here are some of the few:

  1. Properly compress images and video
  2. Compress/Gzip text based content
  3. Eliminate requests

In other words, reduce the number of bytes required to view your content. A lighter web is a faster web, see what you can do to increase the speed of your site while reducing its impact on an increasingly strained shared infrastructure.

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