Mobile Network Transcoding and Rich Media

Mobile Network Operators  endeavour to increase the bandwidth efficiency of their networks through  Transcoding/Asset Optimisation. Unfortunately, this can lead to interference in the delivery of the Rich Media Assets and impact on the visual quality aspects of the User Experience when sites are delivered to mobile via mobile networks (such as 3G).

I’ve not yet found many good sources of information about this online, and so took the opportunity to make some notes after talking with my mate Graham F, who works in the Mobile Networks domain:

The Network Optimisation very much depends on the Operator – they undertake transcoding of voice, video and images.

Typically the device advises what it supports, though most standard formats are supported by most modern devices – but then network policies which may relate to the service package you are subscribed to.

Network policies typically work against:

– the whole network

– a particular subscriber/subscription level

– device

There is no way to mark as ‘do not touch’ so that the mobile operators leave as-was.

Likely to be a trigger around filesize – which may be dependant on both operator and specific package subscribed too (i.e. cheaper subscriptions may have greater optimisation imposed to retain operator margin)

Useful resource: WURFL :  Wireless Universal Resource FiLe, is a Device Description Repository (DDR), i.e. a software component that maps HTTP Request headers to the profile of the HTTP client (Desktop, Mobile Device, Tablet, etc.) that issued the request