Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sandvine adds Mobility-aware Traffic Management Analytics and Enforcing, with Dynamic Control

DPI vendors offer for sometime now "cell-aware" solutions, which are planned to manage traffic at the cell level, as part of enforcing "reasonable traffic management" policies and only limiting those subscribers that are connected to congested cells.

However, since in most cases DPI solutions are deployed on the GGSN's Gi interface, far away from the subscriber, the DPI system may know where was the subscriber when he first connected to the network (from the RADIUS record, usually), but it is unaware as he moves to a different cell. As a result the solution is limited.

Sandvine announced  ".. the launch of the latest version of Fairshare Traffic Management .. [which] interoperates with third-party vendors to offer “mobility- awareness”. True mobility-awareness can accurately identify a moving subscriber’s cell location, dynamically evaluate the congestion level of the cell and apply traffic management policies in real-time, in order to alleviate any congestion. This is the only solution that offers true mobility-awareness; competing products can identify the initial location where the mobile subscriber’s device connected, but not subsequent network locations to which the subscriber has moved". 

As this seems to be the industry's first solution to do that (was was expected by Sandvine's competition! -  here), I had a quick call with Don Bowman (pictured), Sandvine's CTO, in order to learn more on the solutions.

Don added the following:

  • Sandvine interoperates with 3rd party partners, such as RAN-based probes, to get the cell (or sector) handovers updates. Sandvine will expose the partners soon.
  • As one could expect, the update rate reported by these probes could be very high (hundreds of thousands/second). Sandvine's system gets them all, and is able both to use it in its analytics reports and enforce sector-based traffic management policies based to the subscriber currently connected to each sector, and the traffic they generate.
  • Video quality reporting (here) can also be sector-based
  • Sandvine added also a dynamic control system: as the IP bandwidth of a mobile sector is variable (based on forward error correct, weather, signal strength), and rather than try and provision this as other products do, the solution dynamically learns congestion and bandwidth to truly optimise quality. Thus the traffic management self adjusts to the carrier network second by second.
  • The solution, with one of the probe partners, is now in field tests with a lead customer of Sandvine 

See "Sandvine Upgrades Fairshare Traffic Management For Mobile" - here.

1 comment:

  1. Superb blog Avi ! Keep up the great work.

    I presume this development is in response to pressure from GGSN/SGW/PGW vendors that are embedding DPI/Congestion Management solutions into these core nodes.

    Its not clear though what info Sandvine are obtaining to do their analysis and where they are getting it from. I would have thought it would have been from the control plane nodes, SGSN/MME - but through what interface ? But Sandvine mention probes which is very confusing - probes in every RAN site ? If there is no probe, is there no congestion management ?

    Finally, how do Sandvine determine that there is congestion at a radio site from this data ? In general sites should be running at 100% utilisation - i.e. whatever resources are avalable they should be given to subscribers. Its only when the number of subscribers is way too many and they are experiencing a low throughput is there actually congestion. Not sure what data and algorithm Sandvine are using to make this decision on congestion.