How to evaluate mobile app performance solutions

At PacketZoom, we are technology addicts who love to push boundaries. As such, we embrace competition as a driver of our innovation cycles. It keeps us on our toes while we thrive to optimize our technology even further, aspire for excellent customer service and expand our vision.

However, when speaking to customers we often time meet smart professionals that were fed with FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), that could potentially confuse them when making an important business decision such as selecting the right solution to speed up their mobile application.

In an effort to help busy tech executives make an educated decision, here’s a short list of recommended questions to ask before selecting the right solution for speeding up any mobile application:

  1. Is it an in-app solution? Mobile apps are different than web or mobile browsers and as such should not have to use a generic technology that was invented decades ago. Reality is that web optimization techniques including caching at the edge of the internet provides marginal to no value for mobile apps. The right solution must understand the app by running side by side to it on the mobile handset.
  2. Can the solution really solve mobile network issues ? Some solutions, like New Relic and Apteligent, merely point out your performance challenges via data and insights. PacketZoom is the only solution that empowers dev-ops not only to analyze and monitor, but also to optimize their app performance by improving speed-up 2–3X.
  3. How does the solution handle connection loss, packet loss and dead zones? PacketZoom was founded by an ex-Riverbed ex-Google engineer to specifically solve the problems of flaky, slow mobile networks using a purpose-built protocol on top of UDP. This is required because TCP and HTTP have baked in decades-old assumptions based on mainframes and desktop PC’s with bolted on network cards. There’s no way to “tune” these protocols to solve the 21st century problems of millions of sporadically connected mobile devices.
  4. How does the mobile app solution differ from web and mobile web solutions? Some CDN vendors position their solution as mobile specific, which is misleading. Do not be shy to ask and get to the point of “what makes the solution right for mobile?” PacketZoom offers a proprietary mobile networking stack that was designed from the ground up for the mobile app use-case.
  5. How mature is the SDK? The last thing you want is to include a poorly tested SDK in your app only to rollback the release once crashes start showing up. PacketZoom first launched a commercial SDK in April 2015. Like many other mobile SDKs, it takes a long time to mature and ensure that it works with any type of app, on any device and any network. If your vendor just came out of beta, you might end up participating in a QA capacity.
  6. How many users currently use the SDK? Similar to mobile apps, the higher the recurring (daily, monthly) usage of the SDK, the higher the likelihood that it delivers value and works smoothly on different networks and on multiple device models/OS’s. Per MixRank January report, PacketZoom was present in 243 apps, compared to the next closest competitor with only about 10 apps
  7. How scalable is the solution? This is a tricky one. Since many of the vendors offer both web and mobile acceleration services they might provide high numbers, making it sound like the mobile solution is the successful one. Be specific — ask “how many users are actively using your mobile SDK?” PacketZoom’s SDK is being used by over five million devices every day.
  8. Are there active (paying) customers for the solution? Like anything, there is nothing better than speaking to other customers and asking them what value they get directly. PacketZoom currently supports some of the world’s largest mobile games and leading retail, news and travel apps (Deer Hunter, Sephora, GOAT, Cooking Dash, Kings of Avalon and Gordon Ramsay just to name a few).

A lot of vendors will tell you they can help speed up your mobile app. But the bottom line is that the technology and networks that enable apps to download content in a speedy fashion require a unique approach — one that must be custom-built from the ground up in order to address the unique requirements of the mobile ecosystem. PacketZoom is the only solution on the market that adequately addresses all of these singular needs. Contact us today to for a free consultation on how we can improve the speed and performance of your app.