4 of 5
BACKNEXT
Backhaul
Carriers are also hiring networking companies like Cisco and Juniper to help dramatically improve their backhaul -- the engines that power the traffic through the networks.

For instance, Cisco recently unveiled a router that can offer download speeds of 322 Terabits per second, which is fast enough to download the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress in 1 second.

"Before the iPhone, we couldn't imagine who would need a terabit router," Sharma said. "But soon that won't be nearly big enough."

The on-ramps and off-ramps to and from the cell sites are also getting improved. AT&T is growing their number of fiber-optic connections, and Clearwire is deploying microwave connections at its towers.



NEXT: Getting creative
Last updated December 27 2010: 5:35 PM ET
More Galleries
Graffiti about crisis fills Athens' streets Artists are taking to the streets to express their views on the Greek crisis. More
My whirlwind 24 hours in Taiwan as a bridal supermodel Unlike the West, Taiwanese brides-to-be sit for hun sha ?? photo sessions before their actual wedding day. The photos are seen as a status symbol as well as a way to capture the brides' youth and glamor. More
8 startups that'll make your travel experience so much better Here are the new travel apps and services that will make trips easier, less time-consuming, and more fun for the every day business traveler. More

Special Offer