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Jul 10, 2012

トラフィック対策のWi-Fiオフロード、今後は“質の時代”に――KDDIの岩男氏

トラフィック対策のWi-Fiオフロード、今後は“質の時代”に――KDDIの岩男氏

スマホの急増に伴うトラフィック対策として注目を集めるWi-Fiオフロード。KDDIの岩男氏は、今後は“使いやすさ”や“つながりやすさ”が重視されるといい、それに向けた取り組みを説明した。5GHz帯対応も進めているという。

KDDI 技術開発本部の岩男恵氏 「2015年には、2010年に比べて25倍のトラフィックが発生する」――。こう話すのは、KDDI 技術開発本部の岩男恵氏だ。その要因となっているのはスマートフォン。スマートフォンの端末1台あたりの月間平均トラフィックは、3月の時点でフィーチャーフォンの20倍に達したという。

 「スマートフォンを使っているユーザーは今、全体の20%程度だが、その20%が全体の8割のデータトラフィックを使っている」(同)

 auは、500本ものアプリが月額390円で取り放題になる「スマートパス」や、固定網サービスと合わせて申し込むことでスマートフォンの月額利用料を割り引く「スマートバリュー」といった施策が好調で、スマートフォンへの移行が順調に推移している。今後、スマートフォンユーザーが増えれば、ネットワークへの負荷は急速に高まる。そこで同社は、トラフィックが3Gネットワークに集中しないよう他のネットワークに分散させるオフロード対策を急いでいる。

 オフロード対策の1つとして通信キャリア各社が対策に力を入れているのが、Wi-Fiネットワークを通じたオフロードだ。岩男氏によればKDDIのWi-Fiオフロード対策は、場所や目的に最適化した手法を使うとともに、つながりやすさや使いやすさを考慮していると話す。


モバイルデータトラフィックの推移予測(画面=左)とスマートフォンユーザーのデータ利用動向

フィーチャーフォンとスマートフォンのデータ利用の違い(画面=左)。auのデータトラフィック状況(画面=右)

屋内と屋外でWi-Fiオフロード対策を使い分け

トラフィックのピークと屋内外の対策 オフロード対策の実施に先立ち、KDDIが24時間のトラフィック分布を調査したところ、12時の昼休みと夜の23時にピークがあることが分かったという。トラフィックが発生する場所を推定すると「屋外のトラフィックは昼にピークが来て夜は少なくなる。夜は屋内のトラフィックがふくれあがって全体のピークを押し上げる」という状況だったことから、対策は屋内向けと屋外向けを使い分けている。

 地域によってもトラフィックの動向は異なると岩男氏。例えば東京の場合、千代田区紀尾井町のようなビジネス街は昼のトラフィックは多いが夜は少なく、池袋は通勤通学ラッシュの朝夕と、繁華街に人が集まる夜にトラフィックが増える。こうした場所で、Wi-Fiのアクセスポイントを適切に配置し、屋内外を使い分けてうまくオフロードする必要があるというのが同氏の考えだ。

 屋内向けには、自宅の固定回線に接続して使える無線LANアクセスポイント「HOME SPOT CUBE」を提供。ボタンを押すだけで設定できる使いやすさや、無料レンタルキャンペーンなどが好評を博し、配布数は75万台に達している。

 「HOME SPOT CUBEをきちんと使えば、自宅で発生するデータトラフィック(23時台)の3分の2をWi-Fiにオフロードできる」(岩男氏)

 屋外は、それぞれの3Gの基地局でどれくらいトラフィックが発生しているか、つながらないというクレームはどこで発生しているかなど、日々トラフィックの出方をチェックしながら、ユーザーにとって最も効率がいい場所にアクセスポイントを設置。3月末には10万スポットを突破した。


屋内のオフロード対策の効果と屋外対策の具体例

つながりやすさに工夫、混雑の少ない5GHz帯に対応
 “つながりやすさ”を追求しているのも、KDDIのWi-Fiオフロード対策のポイントだ。

 その1つが、5GHz帯への対応。現在、Wi-Fi機器は2.4GHz帯の電波を利用するのが主流となっているが、モバイルWi-Fiルータやスマートフォンなどといった対応機器の急増で、干渉によるスループットの低下が懸念されるという。

 そのためKDDIでは、まだ対応機器が少なく、干渉も少ない5GHz帯への対応を進めている。同社のアクセスポイントは、HOME SPOT CUBEも含めて8~9割が5GHz帯にも対応しており、スマートフォンも春モデルの2機種(「GALAXY SII WiMAX ISW11SC」「Motorola RAZR IS12M」)と夏モデルの5機種(「HTC J ISW13HT」「AQUOS PHONE SERIE ISW16SH」「ARROWS Z ISW13F」「AQUOS PHONE SL IS15SH」「URBANO PROGRESSO」)が5GHzに対応。「(2.4GHz帯の)だいたい倍くらいのスループットが出るのが、5GHz帯のパフォーマンス。Wi-Fiエリアの中でもストレスなくデータサービスを使える」(同)と、岩男氏は自信を見せた。

 もう1つは、1台のアクセスポイントでより広いエリアをカバーする「ビームフォーミング技術」の採用だ。1台のアクセスポイントで、店舗などの広い場所全体をカバーするのは難しく、複数台のアクセスポイントを設置して対応するのが一般的だ。しかし、1台のアクセスポイントの中に複数のアンテナを仕込み、アンテナを効率的に利用することでエリアを広げるビームフォーミング技術を使えば、店舗の奥まった場所もカバーできるという。


ビームフォーミング技術と5GHz対応で“つながりやすいWi-Fi”を目指す
“使ってもらえるWi-Fi”に向けた工夫も
 せっかく用意したWi-Fiも、使われないのではオフロード対策にならない。KDDIでは、スマートフォンユーザーがWi-Fiを利用する上でハードルになっている要素の解消にも腐心している。

 Wi-Fiから3Gへの切り替えを速くしたのも、そのためだ。Wi-Fiエリアから出ていくと、端末側で弱くなったWi-Fi電波をひきずってしまって3Gに切り替わらず、ネットワークのパフォーマンスが低下するケースがある。これを解消するため、auの夏モデルのスマートフォンには、Wi-Fiの電波があるレベルまで低下したら3Gに自動で切り替える仕組みを入れている。

 また、Wi-Fiにアクセスするまでにかかっていた10秒くらいの時間を、無駄なプロトコルを省くことで約半分に短縮。Wi-Fiをオンにした状態での端末のバッテリー消費も、夏モデルは2011年秋冬モデルの約半分に抑えている。

wifiも変な電波掴むと急激にパフォーマンスが低下するし難しいところだ・・・。

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