How More Powerful Smartphones Are Making Websites Load Faster

Smartphone speeds keep accelerating. Last October, Qualcomm joined partners Netgear, Ericsson and Telstra in announcing the first mobile hotspot to support gigabit LTE speeds, located in Australia. Qualcomm also revealed that its next-generation 800 series smartphone processor platform will include X16 modems that can handle gigabit LTE speeds, and that its first 5G compatible modem capable of download speeds up to 5 Gbps will be available in 2018, in time for testing at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile demonstrated in December that its current network can already handle 1 Gbps download speeds. Turing and ZTE both have announced forthcoming phones capable of 1 Gbps download speeds, and the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 will be the first phone on the market to support 1 Gbps. Other brands will undoubtedly be following suit.

For business websites, this means fast-loading sites will become more crucial than ever over the next year. Here’s a look at how smartphone speeds are getting faster, how this can benefit companies with fast-loading websites and how to get your site up to speed.

The Race to 5G

The anticipated coming of 5th generation wireless systems is spurring the acceleration of smartphone speeds. Last summer the Federal Communications Commission approved a large block of high-band spectrum for 5G wireless broadband services. Major 5G tests are underway this year, with early deployment expected to begin in 2018. When fully deployed, 5G networks will provide cell phone services up to 100 times faster than current 4G wireless networks.

As the advent of 5G draws closer, telecommunications providers are racing to purchase bandwidth spectrum that will be needed to support the new technology. This month, T-Mobile submitted $8 billion in winning bids for a major FCC 5G spectrum auction that raised a total of $30 billion from U.S. telecommunications providers.

Making Phones Faster

To keep up with faster networks, smartphone manufacturers are making phones faster. One key to making phones faster is more powerful processors. For instance, the LG V20 uses a 2.15 GHz quad core Snapdragon 820 processor. The quad core architecture uses four chips instead of just two, enabling the 820 to process multiple tasks at the same time or a single large task at a faster rate. This translates into twice the performance and efficiency of the previous generation of processors, with 33 percent faster download speeds and 300 percent faster peak upload speeds.

The Urgency of Faster Websites

As networks and phones get faster, businesses are under increasing pressure to deliver faster-loading web pages. 47 percent of consumers expect pages to load in two seconds or less, Akamai and Gomez.com surveys have found. 40 percent will abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load, and 79 percent who experience dissatisfaction with website performance will not buy from the same site again.
Google is also putting pressure on businesses to make their sites faster. Last year Google announced that it would be updating its page speed ranking factor to specifically include mobile page loading speed. Slow-loading pages will receive lower search engine rankings.

While this is bad news for sites that aren’t up to speed, it can be a competitive advantage for companies that adapt by making their websites faster. Businesses with faster-loading websites will enjoy greater marketing outreach from higher search engine rankings, as well as increased customer satisfaction from mobile customers.

Getting Your Site up to Speed

To increase your page loading speed, Moz recommends taking a few basic steps. Compress images in Photoshop before loading them onto your site, saving graphics with fewer than 16 colors in PNG format and photographs in JPEG format. Use CSS sprites to combine site images into a single load request. Optimize your code to minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript and use Gzip file compression to reduce the size of files in these formats. Avoid use of page redirects, which slow load time. Deploy browser caching to speed up load times. Optimize your server response time by eliminating performance bottleneck factors, such as low memory, slow routing and slow database queries. Use content distribution networks to speed up load time. Test your site’s performance with tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify drags on your site’s speed and fix them.

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