5 of 5
BACKNEXT
Getting creative
Getting creative
Despite all these changes, data demand growth is still outpacing advances in network technologies.

"There's simply a deluge of data, and carriers are experiencing congestion because they can't build out their networks fast enough," said Jonathan Gordon, director of marketing at Allot Communications, a company that helps Internet providers optimize their service. "They want to keep adding more customers to their service, but they're struggling to do that and keep the network experience at a high level."

As a result, experts say more creative solutions need to be tried too. Some suggest adoption of smart network technologies, which could cache, or store, popular content locally and send one stream of a much-viewed piece of data to a location and use a router to multicast it. For instance, if an area has a lot of children, the wireless company could locally cache Nickelodeon videos and divide up the signal locally, rather than sending 1,000 individual clips of Blue's Clues.

Wireless companies have already started using so-called femtocell technology (pictured at right) to deliver wireless networks over customers' broadband connections, and many are building up Wi-Fi networks in public areas.

Changes to the mobile devices themselves have also been suggested, including allowing devices to automatically switch to Wi-Fi when it becomes available.



NEXT
Last updated December 27 2010: 5:35 PM ET
More Galleries
A cheapskate's guide to tech From ebooks to phone service, here are some tips for living your digital life on the cheap. More
2015 Mustang's asphalt-peeling power goes modern The new Ford Mustang has been upgraded and updated to compete globally - but never fear, it's still a monster. More
15 top executives with $1 salaries Some CEOs and founders agree to salaries of just $1 a year. But once goodies like bonuses and stock options are added in, some of those executives end up taking home many millions of dollars a year. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.