AT&T prepares massive network upgrades before next-gen iPhone launch

Sat, Apr 4, 2009

News, Rumors

The next iteration of the iPhone is expected to launch this June, and AT&T is already upgrading its network to handle what AppleInsider reports will be a “tenfold increase” increase in bandwidth.

The network rollout is reported to be connected to a “massive” order of new Juniper routers that can handle higher data throughputs optimized for video streaming and related features targeted toward video stream broadcasts, the source said. AppleInsider later confirmed that AT&T recently took receipt of a large batch of Juniper routers.

A tenfold increase in bandwidth is no joke, and it begs the question as to what will make the next-gen iPhone so bandwidth hungry.  One explanation might be that the upcoming iPhone will support video chatting. AppleInsider, citing a reliable source, already confirmed that the next iPhone will support video recording, so iChat like functionality might not be that much of a stretch.

Another explanation might lie in reports published a few weeks ago which hint at increased Internet browsing speeds for the upcoming iPhone.  Of note, Infineon will release a new 3G chipset later this year that will support browsing speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, whereas the current iPhone 3G only supports browsing speeds of up to 3.6Mbps.

It’s also worth mentioning a rumor from last February which predicted that the next major iTunes upgrade will allow users to stream purchased video and audio straight to their iPhone’s from the mythical and ever-present ‘cloud.’  If accurate, this type of video on-demand service would definitely require a bolstering of AT&T’s 3G network.


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