From W3C Wiki

Network-Friendly WebApps Headlights Project: Introduction

Led by Philipp Hoschka <>

In February 2012, as part of GSMA's Smarter Applications Technical project, the GSMA has published guidelines entitled "Smarter Apps for Smarter Phones!" for mobile applications in general, initially focusing on native applications. The document aims to "enable improvements across a number of areas including application connectivity, power consumption, network reliability and security." To enhance the document's relevance, a W3C community group on "Network-Friendly App and WebApp Best Practices" was created to gather input from the Web community for the document's update to be released by end of 2012.

With the rising importance of mobile Web applications, it is worth to look at whether W3C should work on guidelines specifically focusing on mobile Web applications, based on and complementing the existing GSMA guidelines for native applications.

This could take the form of an update of or companion to the W3C "Mobile Web Application Best Practices" standard, published in December 2010.

The GSMA and others are currently also pursuing other technical approaches to improve the "network friendliness" of mobile applications, some of which could also be candidate for W3C standardization.

Input Contributions

AT&T input: File:Ac2012-Network-Friendly-Webapps.pdf

Background Material on Issue to Solve

French Open Data Demand Spurs Network Congestion Fix

GSMA Network Efficiency Task Force Fast Dormancy Best Practices

Fast dormancy to improve smartphone networking and battery performance (Computer World)

How smartphones are bogging down some wireless carriers (Ars Technica)

AT&T Application Resource Optimizer (ARO) - For energy-efficient apps

A Call for More Energy-Efficient Apps (ATT Research)

Characterizing Radio Resource Allocation for 3G Networks (ATT, Sigcomm 2010)

Nokia Siemens Networks Smart Labs- Understanding Smartphone Behavior in the Network

Seybold's Take: Apps should not overtax the network's signaling system

What's really causing the capacity crunch?

Operators cry out for solution to network signaling congestion

Smartphones causing network data overload, claims O2

Impressive Case Studies

"T-Mobile network service was temporarily degraded recently when an independent application developer released an Android-based instant messaging application that was designed to refresh its network connection with substantial frequency. The frequent refresh feature did not create problems during the testing the developer did via the WiFi to wireline broadband environment, but in the wireless environment, it caused severe overload in certain densely populated network nodes, because it massively increased signaling—especially once it became more popular and more T-Mobile users began downloading it to their smartphones. One study showed that network utilization of one device increased by 1,200% from this one application alone. These signaling problems not only caused network overload problems that affected all T-Mobile broadband users in the area; it also ended up forcing T-Mobile’s UMTS radio vendors to reevaluate the architecture of their Radio Network Controllers to address this never-before-seen signaling issue. Ult imately, this was solved in the short term by reaching out to the developer directly to work out a means of better coding the application." Source: p. 4

  • "signaling from a third-party application took the voice-call success rate down to 10 percent on KT's network"

  • "While data traffic is also growing, by many accounts, signaling traffic is outpacing actual mobile data traffic by 30 percent to 50 percent, if not higher, Thelander said. For instance, a Yahoo IM user may send a message but then wait a couple of seconds between messages. To preserve battery life, the smartphone moves into idle mode. When the user pushes another message seconds later, the device has to set up a signaling path again.

"Smartphones are causing a problem, but it isn't data usage," Thelander said. "The base station controller is spending a lot of its resources trying to process the signaling so it can't do other things like allocate additional resources for data. You'll see dropped calls and data service degradation." Read more: What's really causing the capacity crunch? - FierceWireless

Technical work beyond Best Practices