Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vendor Review: NSN Flexi-NG's DPI support

During MWC 2009, in a visit to the NSN booth, I saw their new GGSN product (see announcement - here) - an ATCA based product, promising a number of new, advanced features.

Since then I saw a number of press releases announcing deployments of the new product - Flexi-NG (picture) - such as MegaFon, Russia - here, Telefonica O2, Germany - here and Agri-Valley Communications - here, but still could not find any real documentation in NSN's web site (other than a presentation in the Japanese site - here).

Recently, I contacted NSN, and got a document providing some information on NSN's Flexi-NG.

Here are some quotes on its DPI support:

"By integrating DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) into the gateway, Nokia Siemens Networks does not just provide a high capacity element – it is setting the foundation for Mobile Broadband with a solution that is extremely powerful and highly scalable at the same time. Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is supported for L7+ analysis in own processor on dedicated Service Aware Blades (same hardware as Service Blade, without external interfaces, and with different software only). These flow classification methods include port and signature based methods. Generic signature methods can be used to differentiate mobile access to Internet and operator/partner services (e.g. MMS, e-mail, streaming). L7+ analysis includes heuristic analysis that is typically applied to track proprietary protocols like peer to peer applications and services. With service awareness and DPI capabilities Flexi NG is capable of differentiating service treatment within the same Access Point, for example the Internet access point. The operator may for example control the access to selected services and apply flow based charging to differentiate the tariffs for different services. Service Awareness and DPI also provide valuable information for service and network planning. DPI can detect the majority of user traffic and protocols used in the Internet today (e.g. peer-to-peer communication). More than 600 protocols can be identified currently. Dynamic changes in applications and Internet protocols may require updates of DPI functionality, which can simply be enhanced by software independent of actual the Flexi NG software. End user connections are kept alive also during updates of DPI engine by help of ISSU (in-service software upgrade"

"With DPI and service aware policy enforcement the operator is able to make on-line changes to the traffic treatment policies. An example for data services is limiting excess usage by bandwidth limiting or even blocking certain bearers or services. For voice and multimedia services service aware policy enforcement can be applied to enforce real-time Quality of Service (QoS) and to ensure enough capacity on the transmission path. Dynamic QoS optimizes the use of network resources as real-time QoS can be allocated and capacity reservations can be made for preferred real-time services."


  1. can you explain how this "http" method flow differs/enchanced with that of L3/L4 treatement

  2. It is able to identify applications that use the same TCP port (80, for example) based on information found deeper in the packet.

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