AT&T begins massive network upgrade in anticipation of new iPhone bandwidth demands

With a new iPhone model unofficially scheduled to launch in June, AT&T has already started implementing massive and widespread upgrades to its 3G network in anticipation of a "tenfold increase" in bandwidth usage. For starters, the next iPhone model will by all accounts support video recording.  Apple, of course, hasn't divulged any information, but some enterprising lads with access to the recently released iPhone SDK have unearthed screenshots which basically confirm video recording capabilities.  reports, Apple is planning on using the 3.2 Megapixel sensor in the next iteration of the iPhone.  Apple's plans for the 5 Megapixel image sensors remain open to specuation. 

While full details of the next iPhone model remain incomplete, a few factors might help explain why AT&T is expecting such a huge spike in bandwidth in conjunction with the upcoming iPhone release.

Video recording functionality naturally opens up the possibility for iChat like video conferencing, a feature that could theoretically appear in a high-end iPhone model that Apple is rumored to be releasing.  Video chatting would undoubtedly eat up huge chunks of bandwidth, and would help explain why AT&T is expecting a 10 fold increase in traffic.  On a somewhat related note, Apple also recently secured orders for 3.2 and 5 Megapixel image sensors, and according to

Video chatting with an iPhone sounds incredibly cool, and if implemented, would essentially turn each and every iPhone into a portable webcam of sorts.  At the same time, video chatting on AT&T's  3G network probably sounds like a nightmare for anyone who has experienced some of the widely reported AT&T 3G connection issues.  Let's just hope AT&T learned its lesson and is over-preparing its network this time around.   

Also of interest are reports that the next iPhone model is purportedly going to support faster Internet browsing speeds due to a new chipset which will increase the data stream the iPhone can handle.  Currently, the iPhone can browse the web at a maximum speed of 3.6Mbps.  With the new chipset, however, the iPhone will be able to handle speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, and there have already been reports that Apple engineers testing the new iPhone have been blown away at how fast pages render on the device.

All in all, the next iPhone model is looking like it might make the iPhone 3G look anitquated, and that's nothing to scoff at.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Related:
Take IDG’s 2020 IT Salary Survey: You’ll provide important data and have a chance to win $500.