Thursday, June 30, 2011

TM Deployments (75): Intercity Zakelijk [Netherlands] Uses NSN for Offload and Tiered Services

Nokia Siemens Networks announced that ".. Intercity Zakelijk, a Dutch mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) for business customers in the Netherlands, will soon be able to offer new features and differentiated services ..  These include automatic offload of voice and data traffic onto customers’ office Wi-Fi networks, and customized packages for different user groups within an enterprise .. Nokia Siemens Networks will plan, design and implement its full mobile core network, including open mobile softswitches and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) .. subscriber data management and repositories, operations support system (OSS), billing mediation, and value added services platform"

See "Dutch MVNO Intercity Zakelijk partners with Nokia Siemens Networks" - here.

Nick Buckley (picture, right), CEO, Intercity Zakelijk said: "Our aim is to deliver differentiated services that fully meet the expectations of our business customers .. Having our own mobile core network allows us to do this faster and more flexibly".

Flash Networks: Video Traffic Passed 50% of Mobile Data Capacity

Flash Networks published some statistics from "Data collected by Harmony Mobile Internet Services Gateway installed at several global Tier 1 operators".

The statistics show that ".. In North America, video as a percent of mobile traffic is fast approaching 50%, while in Asia, video is the largest contributor to network traffic, consuming 56% of the bandwidth .. In North America, close to 5% of mobile sessions involve users viewing over 30 minutes of streaming video at a time. In Asia, this number is slightly lower but the positive trend is consistent.

See “Flash Networks Releases Key Predictions for Mobile Internet Traffic” – here.

when video viewing was at its peak and no optimization was applied, network interrupts occurred for up to 20% of browsing attempts, demonstrating how excessive video traffic impacts user quality of experience"

See similar data from Bytemobile - "Bytemobile - Adds Analytics Features, Finds that Video Traffic is on the Rise" - here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vodafone UK: Web Traffic Filtered by Bluecoat, w/RT Content Analysis

The NO DPI site reports that Vodafone UK filters web traffic using a Bluecoat based filter. The article provides some packet traces as a prove and then brings VF's response.

The rather detailed response provides a good explanation on the technology associated with network based web filtering service - how illegal traffic is blocked (based on IWF lists - here) and how sites are categorized using a pre-populated database and real-time content analysis.

"The Bluecoat filter you refer to classifies every internet site into one or more of over 70 categories.  In order to apply the adult bar to protect our younger customers, Vodafone take these 70+ categories and rates them as either Adult of Universal.  As the internet is growing at an ever increasing rate, so there are a percentage of sites not yet classified by Bluecoat as they are too new. To be on the safe side,  when a user requests a site that is not classified, the Bluecoat system pulls the page requested and checks to see if there is any obvious content that would make it necessary to classify it.   If it does appear adult, then the warning page is displayed. If not, it is served to the customer in the normal way.   In order that we preserve customer service in terms of performance, but do not compromise safety, this is all done simultaneously. Vodafone do not retain any of this information.  The site will be dynamically rated on each visit.  If the site is a more popular one, it is added to the database and the checking process would stop occurring If a customer is over 18 then they can access any internet site they wish with the exception of sites dealing with child abuse images as classified by the IWF.  If a customer is under 18 then where content is regarded as unsuitable we serve a warning page.Bluecoat does not constitute ‘spyware’.  It is a network operation applied to every internet request and we are required to do this in order to meet our regulatory and industry obligations. This is not a question of intercepting customer communications but the safety of our younger customers in a dynamic environment.  Other network operators use the same or similar systems"

See "Vodastalk; Vodafone and Bluecoat Stalking Subscribers" - here.

See also:
  • UK Government Pushes ISPs (Again) to Provide Better Parental Control - here
  • UK: Public Pressure on ISPs to Enforce Parental Control (Killing a VAS?) - here
  • Vodafone Turkey Uses Optenet and Allot for Web Filtering - here
  • TalkTalk [UK] Launches Free, Opt-in, Parental Control/Malware Detection - here

Vodafone Australia Ends Free P2P and VoIP

Apparently, Vodafone Australia data charging process had a design bug, resulting in that the use of some applications - including P2P and VoIP - was not recorded or charged.

It seems like all non-HTTP traffic (or more exactly traffic on port other than 80) was not counted so far - maybe as a result of a very slow evolution from the walled-garden/Proxy gateway concept to open internet. If some people were using P2P file sharing with their wireless dongle, they should expect a "bill shock" in July.

An iTech report article reveals that this is over now - "Vodafone has begun notifying customers [see message - here] that they’ll soon begin charging for data usage that customers have agreed to but haven’t previously been charged for .. Three key areas, namely peer-to-peer connections, VoIP and internet services which “require a personal log-in” (Vodafone gives the examples of Hotmail and Internet banking) have not been counting towards or have not been accurately shown in a user’s data usage as a result of a glitch with Vodafone’s system".

See "Vodafone to fix data usage loophole July 8" - here.

"Dave from Vodafone" says in a whirpool forum [here] that "Currently 3 types of handset data usage [listed above] are not being charged by Vodafone billing systems on postpay and prepay .. We are implementing a fix to correct this. This does not mean you are now going to see extra or excess charges, but instead more accurate data usages, as we will be now capturing all data traffic. Data usage will continue to be charged at the same rate and from under your plan's data allocations"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Computaris Will Deliver a PCRF/DPI Solution to an Eastern European MNO

R Systems announced that " .. Computaris .. (wholly owned subsidiary of R Systems International Limited) a leading consultant and system integrator in the communication industry, was chosen by a major Eastern European mobile operator to deliver an end-to-end Policy Management solution for their NGN architecture due to be live in 2011".

See "Computaris, an R Systems business, wins an end-to-end project for Policy Management Solution to an Eastern European Mobile Network Operator" - here.

Computaris specializes in consultancy, system integration and software development for the mobile telecoms industry in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Their partner page (here) shows Bridgewater Systems (soon to be Amdocs) as a partner. The Reference and Case study page (here) lists also Acision, Comverse, Orga and Redknee. The term "policy traffic switch" mentioned below is Sandvine's DPI product name.

Back to the new project: " Computaris proposed an access network agnostic mobile broadband solution that will enable the Operator to introduce new, advanced data services and to optimize the existing network capacity through the application of sophisticated traffic shaping and fair usage policies in real time significantly improving users’ experience.

Computaris Policy Management solution is sufficiently flexible and extensible to achieve the Operator’s business objectives and vision of Subscriber Management and Control and is based on:
  • Best of breed DPI and traffic enforcer product that will help the Operator manage and capitalize on the explosive growth in mobile data;
  • A subscriber Data management tool that brings together rich subscriber data such as location, context, profile and usage with the sophisticated tools to manage that data to multiple systems and applications to personalize services products;
  • Policy Traffic Switches that enable detailed reporting and vendor-agnostic interoperability;

ATIS Develops OTT Video Delivery Standards (eliminating CDN providers?)

Carol Wilson reports to Light Reading that "the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) Carrier Cloud Forum is preparing to publish a set of requirements that enable ISPs to deliver over-the-top (OTT) Internet video traffic more efficiently, using local interconnections .. The new Content Delivery Network (CDN) interconnect requirements and use cases will be published within the next week or two, only a little more than three months after the ATIS CCF  began meeting".

See "Trade Group Develops Standards for Faster Web Video" - here.

"Today, a request from a consumer on one carrier network seeking to view video content hosted on another carrier network consumes bandwidth on the networks of both, plus at a peering point. The new CDN interconnection [here] standards will enable the video-hosting ISP to recognize a request for video and allow it to be delivered via a CDN location that is closer to the consumer, and potentially even locally sited, to reduce core and backhaul network consumption"

So - what is the idea here? Replace the CDN providers (Level3/Akamai) with carrier CDN and direct n:m relations between ISPs? Please help me understand!
See also "ATIS - Creating a Common Policy Management Framework" - here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

AT&T Tests Openet & Cisco for LTE: Session based Pricing, Speed Tiers

Several sites, including Tekgoblin, report that "Documents  which were leaked [see some below] out of AT&T because of Lulzsec indicate that AT&T may be testing a LTE version of the iPad. The document also indicates that testing will occur in November and December of 2011 which means that if there was an iPad 3 at the end of this year it may not be LTE enabled".

While it is interesting to learn about the new LTE options and availability date for Apple's devices, the leaked documents also show how AT&T PCRF infrastructure will take part in LTE services (some quotes from the project plan presented in the document).

It seems also that AT&T is testing Openet and Cisco's PCRF products for that purpose.
  • "SBP [Session Based Pricing] ST scenarios - Testing will include activations, add stacked plans, add international plans, perform customer service functions using the LTE devices.  Testing will validate device is being provisioned and the proper policy from PCRF are being enforced.  Usage should be added to decrement the account when needed in order to show RTDUNS are functioning properly" 
  • "LTE - Speed Tiers - Phase 2- After the policy updates are done in PCRF, Testing will include adding of usage to LTE subscribers and ensure usage is displayed and billed correctly on the customers' bill"
 See "Leaked AT&T Documents Indicate LTE iPad, iPhone 5" - here.

Mobixell Adds Monetization Opportunities: Subscriber Oriented Video Optimization and Control Features

Mobixell announced ".. version 5 of its converged mobile Internet solution, Seamless Access .. Seamless Access 5 is even more cost-effective than the previous release which itself achieved 80% of the “optimize-all” benefits with as little as 20% of the hardware resources compared to competing solutions".

Some of the new features, described below, bring real value to subscribers. As such they may be sold as Value-added Service/s, allowing mobile carriers to offer them for additional monthly fees, increase ARPU and the attractiveness of the service.
"In addition to device-aware Web and video optimization, support for new video formats including WebM/VP8 and Content Aware algorithms that analyze video scene complexity and quality, some of the new user-centric features in Mobixell Seamless Access 5 include ..  Smart Toolbar  – Mobile Operators can offer subscribers the Smart Toolbar to give them control over how they consume mobile video under changing circumstances .. Flash video support for iOS devices – transcoding of video in Adobe® Flash® format for the Apple® iOS"

Noam Green, VP Marketing for Mobixell, provided me with more details on the new Smart Toolbar and Flash support for iOS devices:

  • When minimized, the Smart Toolbar is a small, non-intrusive floating icon. It is pre-integrated with Mobixell video optimization and policy management tools within the Seamless Access platform so that when it is activated it gives subscribers control over their data usage. The Smart Toolbar also helps operators to provide value added services within their subscribers’ environment with easy access to operator-managed apps, branded messaging and 3rd party advertising 

  • There are client-based solutions. But solutions such as the SkyFire browser force subscribers to use another browser when they prefer Safari, the default choice, or other browsers that they prefer. Heavy client-based transcoding solutions such as Puffin provide only the optimization that can function within the limitations of the device. With Device-Aware video optimization and Flash transcoding sitting server-side, operators can make sure that user QoS is optimized for all users, regardless of which device or browser they use. Seamless Access Flash for iOS currently supports Flash video and soon will support animation to support Flash-based menus and applications, as well"

See "Mobile Internet Platform – Mobixell Seamless Access 5 – Puts Mobile Operators Second" - here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Google: Streaming Video Problems? - Add More Bandwidth!


Recently I had a number of posts on the ways to optimize broadband services, with a focus on video services, presenting the point of view of IP DPI/PCRF/Optimization vendors (e.g. Allot, Tekelec).

Vint Cerf (picture), Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, thinks differently. Joab Jackson, reported to IDG News that Mr. Cerf has a simpler idea:

"Increase bandwidth exponentially .. With sufficient bandwidth, streaming video services of prerecorded content wouldn't be necessary, explained Cerf .. With sufficient throughput, the entire file of a movie or television show could be downloaded in a fraction of the time that it would take to stream the content .. When you are watching video today, streaming is a very common practice. At gigabit speeds, a video file [can be transferred] faster than you can watch it," he said. "So rather than [receiving] the bits out in a synchronous way, instead you could download the hour's worth of video in 15 seconds and watch it at your leisure".  

See "Cerf: Streaming Network Crunch Could Be Eliminated" - here.

This also has to do with Google's ever-changing position on Net Neutrality - see "Google's Vint Cerf on Net Neutrality - Good for the Rich Content Providers?" - here and "Google/Verizon Net Neutrality Compromise" - here

Source: Nextwork
Cerf mentioned (at Juniper Network's Nextwork conference last week) that the " company's decision to outfit Kansas City with fiber-optic connections that the company claims will be 100 times faster than broadband services commercially available .. The purpose of the project was "to demonstrate what happens when you have gigabit speeds available," Cerf said. "Some pretty dramatic applications are possible."

And who is going to pay for all that? Is Google ready to share its revenues with carriers to allow this in all other cities?

Apple Devices Use Wi-Fi, Android Use 3G - Why?

A new service by comScore,  Device Essentials™, provides ".. reporting on digital traffic by device, which includes computers and other devices, defined as mobile phones, tablets, music players, e-readers, gaming devices, and other web-enabled devices".

See "comScore Introduces Device Essentials™ for Measuring Digital Traffic from All Devices, Enabling Optimization of Marketing Strategies and Customer Experience" - here.

One of comScore's recent findings (for the US) shows that Apple's mobile devices (iPhone, iPad) use Wi-Fi services to access the internet, while Android owners (phones and tablets) are using 3G services. The difference is huge, as the table shows.

It seems that AT&T moves (until recently the only 3G provider for Apple devices) - implement usage-based billing (certainly with the problems reported here), deploy free Wi-Fi services (despite what AT&T executive said here) and charge $20/month for tethering (here) were very effective.

Or maybe it relates to the signaling problem? (see "NSN: Android and Blackberry Phones Overload Networks with Signaling" - here).
For iPads, it may also depend on the share of 3G devices vs. Wi-Fi only devices. AppleInsider estimated on February that 38% of all iPads (globally) were Wi-Fi only.

See "Over 60% of Apple's first-wave iPad 2 production to be 3G models" - here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

DPI Win: Vedicis Detects Tethering on the Fly for an APAC Mobile Operator

Vedicis (here) announced earlier this month that "a major APAC mobile operator has selected Vedicis Policy Control & Enforcement Solution for tethering monetization and congestion relief. .. [the] Solution provides user bandwidth monitoring, clear identification of tethering usage to be compared on the fly with their subscription packages, and inline actions for control (either bandwidth limitation for users without relevant data packages or alerts sent to SMS systems to propose directly a package upgrade)".

See "First win in APAC for policy control and tethering monetization" - here.

More on tethering solutions and deployments: Sandvine (here),Procera (here), Verizon (here), AT&T (here), Carolina West Wireless (here).

DPI Deployments (74): Vodafone Turkey Uses Optenet and Allot for Web Filtering

Optenet announced that it "has won an RFP with Vodafone Turkey, the leading mobile communications provider in Turkey, to provide filtering services to its residential customers in Turkey .. The proposed solution should be capable of keeping profiles in the forms of white lists or black lists enabling or disabling the users to access internet and of creating pre-defined types of profiles that can be selected by the users wishing to receive Safe Internet Services based on their needs.".

See "Optenet and Alcatel-Lucent sign a contract with Vodafone Turkey to provide fully law compliant filtering services to its residential customers" - here.

"With Alcatel-Lucent managing integration and deployment, Optenet will enable Vodafone Turkey to effectively filter all Web/WAP content classified as illegal by government authorities, ensuring they do not inadvertently transfer content prohibited by law. The solution, wich enables optimized deployment through the integration of Allot hardware DPI and Optenet's software DPI, stands out for its simplicity, highly effective filtering system and flexibility when it comes to deploying it in the operator’s network infrastructure and leverages proven methods of deployment to ensure very high scalability and minimal impact or intrusion into the operator transit network".

See other parental control deployments: TalkTalk (here), Telefonica /O2 (here), Orange France (here)

Source: Optenet

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bytemobile - Adds Analytics Features, Finds that Video Traffic is on the Rise

Bytemobile announced "new product enhancements to the company's traffic reporting and analytics solution. The expanded solution provides improved insights into mobile data congestion, application traffic patterns and subscriber quality of experience (QoE) on operators' networks.

See "Bytemobile's Smart Capacity Mobile Analytics Helps Operators Manage Data Traffic" - here.

In parallel, the company renamed its "Mobile Minute Metrics" report to "Mobile Analytics" and published the Q2 2011 edition (here, registration required) loaded with interesting data on video traffic in mobile networks.

The main conclusion is that "Video generates 40 – 60% of total mobile data traffic on wireless networks". We are getting closer to BM's previous forecast - "Bytemobile Forecasts Video to be more than 60% of Total Mobile Traffic in 2011" - here. For iPhone, Android and laptop users - video is already more than 50% of traffic.  

The benefits of optimization: better QoE - "Video optimization technology reduces stalling by 30 – 50%. .. Subscribers on wireless networks optimized for video consume double the mobile video content than those on un-optimized networks".

Hopefully this helps operators to reduce churn and monetize OTT video serivces.

Diameter Router Win - Traffix Systems Selected by North American Tier-1 Carrier

The Diameter routing business seems to take off, just few months after the first product announcements, led by North American mobile operators.

Few days after Tekelec (here), Traffic Systems (covered here) announced the ".. selection of the Traffix Signaling Delivery Controller (SDC) Router solution by a North American tier one carrier, following extensive performance testing proving the technological superiority over other solutions. Most significantly, the Traffix SDC handles up to 1 million Diameter messages per second (MPS) in a single chassis"

A company executive told me that " The scenario implemented by the operator with our Diameter router is central routing of LTE network signaling between all HSS and PCRF’s; Tekelec was our main competition"

According to the Israeli news site Globes, the deal worth $5M (here, Hebrew), and Traffix' customer base includes Verizon, Qwest, Orange, Vodafone and other operators.

See "North American Tier One Carrier Selects Traffix Diameter Router Solution for LTE Network Deployment" - here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Will Punish Naughty Subscribers

Seems like we have gone back a few years, when illegal P2P file sharing was the main (or only) source for on-line media. 10 years after media sharing started, CNET reports that US largest ISPs will (somehow) detect piracy and take actions against subscribers using it extensively. Since ISPs do not like these subscribers anyway, this may serve their goals as well.

Greg Sandoval  (picture) reports that "After years of negotiations, a group of bandwidth providers that includes AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are closer than ever to striking a deal with media and entertainment companies that would call for them to establish new and tougher punishments for customers who refuse to stop using their networks to pirate films, music and other intellectual property, multiple sources told CNET .. Under the proposed plan, participating bandwidth providers would adopt a "graduated response" to subscribers who repeatedly infringe copyrights. ISPs would first issue written warnings, called Copyright Alerts, to customers accused by content creators of downloading materials illegally via peer-to-peer sites, the sources said. Should a subscriber fail to heed the warning, an ISP could choose to send numerous follow-up notices. The plan, however, requires ISPs to eventually take more serious action .. such as throttling down an accused customer's bandwidth speed or limit their access to the Web".

See "Exclusive: Top ISPs poised to adopt graduated response to piracy" - here.

"Sources in the music and film sectors said that their antipiracy measures, coupled with the emergence of popular legal services, such as Netflix and Amazon, which provide inexpensive content that is also easy to access, has put them in the best possible position to compete with Web piracy".

I'd add iTunes, who pioneered the idea of legal content at a reasonable cost. And one more correction - services with proper QoE!

Nice try, KPN - Netherlands First European Country to Adopt Net Neutrality

This was quick. Only two months after KPN announced it will surcharge the use of certain data application competing with its voice, SMS and video services (here) it became illegal to do so.
Brian O'Brien reports to the New York Times: "The Netherlands on Wednesday became the first country in Europe, and only the second in the world, to enshrine the concept of network neutrality into national law by banning its mobile telephone operators from blocking or charging consumers extra for using Internet-based communications services like Skype or WhatsApp, a free text service.

The measure, which was adopted with a broad majority in the lower house of the Dutch Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, will prevent KPN, the Dutch telecommunications market leader, and the Dutch units of Vodafone and T-Mobile, from blocking or charging for Internet services. Its sponsors said that the measure would pass a pro-forma review in the Dutch Senate without hitches".

See "Dutch Lawmakers Adopt Net Neutrality Law" - here.

Tekelec: Policy Management Use-cases, Deployments and Performance

Yet another use-case handbook, this time from Tekelec, focusing of course on the policy management side of the solution (vs. Allot's "Monetize and Optimize Broadband Services" - here - focusing on the DPI gear).

6 use-cases are presented (here) of which 3 were also presented by Allot (fair use, OTT QoS/Tiering, bill shock/roaming), showing probably the popularity of these cases. The other 3 are:
  • IMS VoLTE Call Control (see also here)
  • Location/Roaming
  • Dynamic RAN-Aware Policy Management (see chart) 
Joanne Steinberg (picture), director of strategic marketing for Tekelec, provides additional insight into the use-cases: "many of them are being deployed by our policy customers including:
  • Various flavors of tiered services are being deployed by our customers in Europe and the Americas
  • Casual usage including bandwidth boosts and day passes are also being deployed in Europe and the Americas
  • We are in customer lab trials for QoS for over-the-top applications such as Voice over IP in North America"
In a press release issued on Wednesday Tekelec says that its "Policy Server capacity yielding up to 10,000 transactions per second (TPS) per blade and up to 100,000 TPS per system .. Policy Server processing power of up to 60 million concurrent sessions per system .. Policy Server customer base spans 47 service providers, including 34 tier ones, in 28 countries. First deployments of the latest release start this month with nine tier one customers" (see "Tekelec Raises the Performance Bar for Policy, SDM and Diameter Routing in 3G and LTE Networks" - here).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Akamai to Offer Products for Operator's Own Content Delivery

Dan Rayburn (picture), EVP and Principal Analyst, Frost & Sullivan says in a recent blog post that "multiple telcos have told me that Akamai has discussed with them the possibility that Akamai may get into the software licensing business by providing telcos and carriers with Akamai's own CDN technology to enable telcos to build out their own content delivery services .. It makes sense that Akamai is looking at offering an LCDN ("Licensed CDN") product as all of the major carriers are now partnering less with pure-play CDNs and working to add their own content delivery solutions and transparent caching platforms to their network".

See "Akamai Developing A Licensed CDN Offering For Telcos and Carriers" - here.

See also "Why Should Telcos Build their Own CDN?" - here and posts on Verizon (here), BT (here and here). See also "F&S: Video Delivery, Caching and CDN Markets CAGR (2010-15): 40%" - here.

Nevertheless, with its product offering Akamai will join a growing list of vendors already offering Caching/CDN solutions, including: Alcatel-Lucent (here), Cisco (here), Juniper (here), Ericsson (here), Bluecoat (here), Huawei (here), PeerApp (here), Oversi (here), Bytemobile (here), BTI (here) and Allot (here).

Back to Akamai's move: "With many carriers starting to spend serious CAPEX dollars on their own content delivery build-outs, some are telling me that they don't see the need to allow Akamai to take up more space inside their network .. As soon as carriers and ISPs build and deploy their own CDN solutions, which we have started to see them do thanks to the success of services like Netflix .. Akamai's servers become less important for some of these carriers".

Policy Management Wins: Tekelec Diameter Router, Volubill First US PCRF

Tekelec and Volubill announced new US wins:

Tekelec said that it "has been selected by a U.S. tier-one operator to supply key Diameter signaling technology for its nationwide LTE network .. The operator will deploy Tekelec’s Diameter Signaling Router (DSR), which supports Diameter scaling needs for up to hundreds of millions of subscribers. In addition, the DSR will centralize network routing data and help manage subscriber profile information. Tekelec’s DSR provides up to 500,000 Diameter messages per second (MPS) in a single frame, including redundancy"

See "Tekelec’s Diameter Signaling Router Critical Component for Nationwide LTE Network" - here. A year ago Camiant (before being acquired by Tekelec) announced that "Verizon Wireless Selects Camiant for PCRF" (here).

Diameter routing is a new technology - see current list of vendors - here. I heard from one of the vendors that there 4-5 other, unannounced, vendors that they've seen in competitive situations.

Volubill announced that it has "secured a policy management deal with a North American satellite and wireless communications provider. The deployment will see Volubill’s CONTROL-IT [here] solution deliver dynamic service fulfillment and wholesale invoicing across a 4G WiMAX-based network, serving more than half a million customers".

The [French] company says that this is "its first policy management deal in the United States .. [the operator  is one of] Forbes' 200 Best Small Companies in America and Washington Technology's Top 100 Federal Prime Contractors". Feel free to solve the puzzle.

See "Volubill Provides Policy Control to North American Satellite Communications Provider" - here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Procera Enables Ortiva's Video Optimization for 2 European Mobile Operators

Procera announced today that "that two leading European mobile operators leverage PacketLogic to enable a comprehensive integrated solution for video optimization. Both operators also selected the Ortiva Wireless iVOG [see below] as their preferred video optimizer .. Ortiva and Procera underwent interoperability testing that showed a 30% reduction in video throughput while maintaining video quality. Procera's PacketLogic improves capacity and extends operability lifetime by offloading almost 50% of irrelevant traffic from being processed in the iVOG. This combination provides a proven solution with a compelling and quick return on investment".

See "Two Leading European Mobile Operators Deploy Combined Procera And Ortiva Solution for Video Optimization" - here.

Video optimization is one of the best ways mobile operators may handle congestion. However, since it consumes significant processing resources, a DPI front-end may improve its efficiency considerably by forwarding only relevant traffic for optimization processing – based on the application used, subscriber service profile and the current load of the network (chain of elements connecting the subscriber).

See also "Sandvine Partners with Mobixell, Ortiva Wireless and Vantrix" - here and a recent use-case by Allot (here).

Ortiva’s iVOG™ (internet Video Optimization Gateway) is a video optimization platform designed for wireless operators to improve overall network efficiency and reduce bandwidth consumption, while simultaneously improving end-user experience. It is deployed as a proxy service in the operator network, where it minimizes video data rate on the network, maximizes the number of simultaneous video users, and dynamically modifies video content flow (via transrating) to suit the end-user’s prevailing network conditions.

Verizon's UBB Starts July 7; Tethering Surcharge: $20

Verizon plans to increase ARPU with tiered pricing (here), will become a reality soon, based on volume based billing and tethering surcharge. The speed factor mentioned before is not there - probably waiting for broader LTE coverage and availability of devices.
Droid life reports that "we’ve just received word that tiers are scheduled to start the day after the promo ends (on the 7th) for new customers and will look something like this… Data plans:  2GB – $30/month; 5GB – $50/month; 10GB – $80/month. If you would like to add tethering on to any of those packages, you can purchase 2GB of data at an additional cost of $20 per month"

See "Exclusive: Tiered Data Plans Headed to Verizon July 7, Packages Start at $30 for 2GB" - here.

Detection of tethering requires some network intelligence - see how AT&T does it (here). See also "Openet CMO:"Verizon prepared their network with a policy management infrastructure sufficiently in place, to handle the volume increase with stride" - here.        

Source: Verizon
The site got a letter sent to Verizon employees (here) by one of Verizon's Area VP of Marketing and Sales Operations, saying: "..Our legacy data pricing structure was designed to address a somewhat different customer need profile than what we are seeing and can expect in the future ..  Data usage has more than doubled over the last three years. .. Whether it’s social media (85%+ of Smartphone users), mobile internet (88%+ of Smartphone users), or email/applications (71%+ of Smartphone users), this usage has one thing in common—dramatically increased demand for data and media consumption... As a result, we are evolving our approach around how we package our data solutions and pricing to our customers. Coming soon, Verizon Wireless will move from our existing pricing format to a structure designed to allow customers to choose the right data solution that best aligns with their needs .. The successful launch of our new data pricing solutions represents a key milestone in our continued march to excellence".

Monday, June 20, 2011

EZchip's 200 Gbps Network Processor Planned for the End of 2012

EZchip Semiconductor provided ".. product details of its NP-5 network processor. NP-5 is a 200-Gigabit network processor (NPU) with integrated 200-Gigabit traffic management for building ultra-dense 10GE, 40GE and 100GE port line cards in switches and routers. The NP-5, currently in design, will provide a natural scale-up path for customers that use EZchip’s NP-4 100-Gigabit processor .. the NP-5 will be manufactured in a 28nm process and is scheduled to sample at the end of 2012 .. The NP-5 will enable line cards that feature multiple 40 and 100-Gigabit ports as well as dozens of 10-Gigabit ports. Through its versatility and rich feature set, the NP-5 will serve a wide variety of carrier and data center applications".

See "EZchip Discloses Product Details of Its NP-5 200-Gigabit Network Processor" - here.

See also "How to Build DPI Products? (Part I - CPU Architecture)" - here.

Other network processors covered recently - Cavium (here), NetLogic/RMI (here), Netronome (here),

ACG Research: "Edge routers are augmented with DPI"

Michael Kennedy, Principal Analyst, ACG Research explains in an article to Fierce Telecom how mobile operators will be handling the ever-increasing video traffic on their network, responding to the demand for bandwidth and consistent quality (i.e low jitter or elimination of the "buffering" problem) expected by the subscribers.

"Systems vendors' response to these technical and market imperatives include increasing the bandwidth of the access network by moving fiber closer to subscribers and moving to including GE (gigabit Ethernet) or even 10 GE backhaul and extending QoS (quality of service) out to individual services and subscribers. .. One alternative to throwing bandwidth at the problem is to use cloud computing concepts to distribute video caches out onto the aggregation network so as to reduce its required bandwidth capacity. .. Advanced edge routing concepts also provide alternatives to provisioning more bandwidth. Edge routers can deliver both service level and subscriber level QoS so that no more bandwidth than necessary is transmitted on the aggregation network. Edge routers also are augmented with intelligent networking capabilities (DPI, deep packet inspection) to better deliver application specific QoS and enforce service differentiation policies".

See "Video driving carriers to rethink their network architecture choices" - here.

See related offering from Genband (here), Cisco (here), Sandvine (here), Stoke (here), DiviNetworks (here).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

DPI: NSA Scans AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink Traffic Going to Defense Firms

 reports to the Washington Post that "The National Security Agency is working with Internet service providers to deploy a new generation of tools to scan e-mail and other digital traffic with the goal of thwarting cyberattacks against defense firms by foreign adversaries, senior defense and industry officials say .. The program uses NSA-developed “signatures,” or fingerprints of malicious code, and sequences of suspicious network behavior to filter the Internet traffic flowing to major defense contractors. That allows the Internet providers to disable the threats before an attack can penetrate a contractor’s servers. The trial is testing two particular sets of signatures and behavior patterns that the NSA has detected as threats. The Internet carriers are AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink. Together they are seeking to filter the traffic of 15 defense contractors".

See "NSA allies with Internet carriers to thwart cyber attacks against defense firms" - here.

While this is a case of "national security", security threats to enterprise customers are real and growing (see Cisco's report below). Nevertheless, security represents an opportunity for ISPs to sell a value-added service.

One aspect, offered by DPI/traffic management vendors is DDoS prevention functions, offered as an add-on to traffic management (see examples from Allot, Arbor, Procera and Sandvine), by detecting traffic anomalies and blocking the relevant packets, thus protecting networks and business or residential subscribers from being attacked.

A recent "Global Threat Report 1Q11" from Cisco (here) finds that "Malicious webmail represented 7% of all Web-delivered malware in March 2011, a 391% increase from January 2011 .. Enterprise users experienced an average of 274 Web malware encounters per month in 1Q11, a 103% increase compared to 2010. Unique Web malware encountered also increased (46%) in 1Q11, from 72,294 unique Web malware in January 2011 to 105,536 in March".

See also "ALU Bell Labs: Network Behavior Analysis Helps to Detect Malware Infection" - here and "Recent Cyber Monday DDoS Attacks "revealed a sophisticated and motivated attacker” - here.

Source: Cisco

Mobile Data Usage Stats: Savvy Users Get Savvier

New data that was published recently shows a significant increase in mobile data usage (per subscriber), with higher growth by the top users.
Data from Validas shows the difference between the average and median data consumption in US 4 major wireless providers - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-mobile. While the average consumption is in the range of 345-430MB/Month, the median consumption is about 25% of that (half of the subscribers consume 80-134MB/Month, see charts below).

As a result, about 60% of the subscriber base consumes less than 200MB/month, so they can use the lower level of the usage-based billing data plans.

See "Unpacking Data Plans: Do They Fit Your Use? Maybe, If You Squeal Like a Data Hog…" - here.

Don Kellogg, Senior Manager, Telecom Research & Insights, Nielsen provides a more granular view of the distribution of data usage among smartphone users:

"mobile Data Tsunami initially described here is still growing at an astounding pace In just the last 12 months, the amount of data the average smartphone user consumes per month has grown by 89 percent from 230 Megabytes (MB) in Q1 2010 to 435 MB in Q1 2011. A look at the distribution of data consumption is even more shocking: data usage for the top 10 percent of smartphone users (90th percentile) is up 109 percent while the top 1 percent (99th percentile) has grown their usage by an astonishing 155 percent from 1.8GB in Q1 2010 to over 4.6GB in Q1 2011 .. Even as data usage has almost doubled, most users are paying around what they did a year ago for data. That translates to a lower cost per unit of data consumed.  The amount the average smartphone user pays per unit of data has dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last year, from 14 cents per megabyte (MB) to a mere 8 cents".

See "Average U.S. Smartphone Data Usage Up 89% as Cost per MB Goes Down 46%" - here.

Source: Validas

Source: Validas

Source: Nielsen