Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Congestion Management: Cell Level vs. Core Network Traffic Management

An article by Monica Paolini (pictured), founder and president of Senza Fili Consulting, analyzes the ways operators may manage mobile network congestion.

According to the analysis, since traffic has consistent time-of-day and location usage patterns (see chart below), network wide traffic management policies are not efficient, and "to fully benefit from traffic management tools, operators will have to move to real-time, cell-level traffic management in the radio access network (RAN) .. And moving one step further, operators need to actually act ahead of time, using predictive data to prevent congestion, especially when due to unexpected traffic spikes"
Time-of-day traffic distribution by type of location. Source: Nokia

However - is this a particle, technically available, ROI worthy approach? I am not sure, and so is the author.

the article admits that "Most mobile operators I talked to would rather avoid to do this and reasonably so. Tracking and acting traffic in real-time at the cell level inevitably adds complexity and today traffic data is available but only offline"

".. Today operators are just starting to implement traffic management, policy and content optimization to increase the efficiency of their networks. These tools allow them to use their network resources more efficiently, i.e. to pack more data within their existing pipes. The cost per bit goes down, and, if properly implemented, QoE is improved by sharing resources more fairly among subscribers"

Also, the marketing and regulation aspects (Net Neutrality, transparency) should be considered: "it is imperative that the resulting traffic management strategy is sufficiently simple and transparent that it can be easily communicated to subscribers, and that they perceive it as a way to make the distribution of network resources fair--rather than the result of the capriciousness or greediness of the mobile operator"

See the rest - "Paolini: Managing data traffic in real time, down at the cell level" - here.

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