Dean Bubley over at Disruptive Wireless has written an interesting article describing why applications running on multi bearer mobile handsets (read GSM, UMTS, HSDPA, Wifi, UMA, Femtocells) must be aware of which networks are available and react accordingly:
- Some bearers are not terminated in the operator network: Think local network, phones interact with local equipment such as PCs, VCRs and home appliances in general.
- Different bearer characteristics. Some bearers are fast, some are slow, some are cheap others are expensive. Applications should adapt to this.
- To access web pages and services outside the operator’s domain it’s not necessary to tunnel the IP traffic through its backbone in case several bearers are available and one gives direct access to the Internet.
A well researched article, I fully recommend to read the full piece. And a quote from it to finish:
"A lot of people don’t understand all this [the points above], particularly if they work at a mobile operator and still fervently believe that anything you do on a handset is "a service", rather than understanding that sometimes you want to do non-service activities as well."