Monday, January 31, 2011

T-Mobile Netherlands Reduces Data Signaling by 30% with NSN Cell_PCH

Nokia Siemens Networks announced that "T-Mobile Netherlands has successfully improved the accessibility and quality of its network by significantly reducing its peak signaling traffic load to a more manageable level. The operator activated the paging channel feature within its network, making room for additional growth in voice and data traffic.

See "T-Mobile Netherlands improves smartphone user experience" - here.

“The number of smartphones on our network is very high. More than 50 percent of all data traffic in the Netherlands is processed by the T-Mobile network [4.5M subscribers]. Management of signaling traffic is imperative in the rapidly evolving mobile broadband landscape,” said Jan Kuijpers, technology director, T-Mobile Netherlands. “In the long run, excessive signaling can lead to network congestion and can have a negative impact on the quality of voice calls for all our subscribers. Nokia Siemens Networks’ Cell_PCH feature provides the ideal solution to avoid these negative impacts. This feature has been implemented across the Deutsche Telekom Group.”

See also:
  • SFR Deploys NSN Cell_PCH Optimization Technology - here
  • StarHub Uses Huawei to Reduce Network Signaling by 83% - here
  • NSN: New iPhone OS Saves Network Resources - here
  • NSN CEO: “Finding ways to support the 10,000% increase in smartphone generated data traffic by 2015 is vital for operators worldwide” - here

Cellcom [Israel] Moves to Speed Tiers with Unlimited Data

Cellcomthe largest cellular operator in Israel, announced a change to its mobile internet service plans. The carrier will offer speed based tiers, all with unlimited volume. 

The first tier will be free (so far there was a mandatory charge for all 3 and 3.5 G phones) but will allow surfing within the carrier walled-garden portal only. Then "up-to" 384Kbps (download speed), 512Kbps, 1Mbps and 2.8Mbps plans will be offered for $6.7, $13.5, $18.9 and $37.8 a month, respectively. No room for overcharges, of course, but these rates may not be used with laptop dongles or tablets.
See "AT&T Considers Speed and Volume Tiers in LTE" - here and "Verizon - Speed and Usage Price Tiering" - here.  

Cellcom (NYSE:CEL) had 3.38M subscribers on September 2010. The chart below is taken from the company's 2009 presentation.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Exclusive: The 2011 DPI CEO Panel

To celebrate my blog’s first anniversary, I invited the CEOs of the 3 leading pure-player DPI vendors to participate in a Q&A panel.

My questions were submitted on Sunday, January 23rd to Rami Hadar CEO of Allot Communications (RH), Dave Caputo CEO of Sandvine Corp (DC) and James Brear CEO of Procera Networks (JB). All answers were received on Friday, January 28th and presented below in order received.

Since all 3 vendors are public companies, none of the questions was referring directly to the vendor’s business, to avoid un-necessary disclosures. Still, some questions were not answered by the vendors, due to their information disclosure polices.

What is your estimation for the DPI market size, globally?  
Rami Hadar, Allot

[RH] Hard to judge due to the fact that not all vendors put out figures. According to analyst reports we have seen, the market will do around $600-800M in 2011. On the customer side we continue to see strong demand.

[DC] 2010 - $400M 2011 - May well be dubbed “The Year of Network Policy Control” where Subscriber Quality of Experience and ARPU expansion will become the raison d'être for consumer internet service providers.

[JB] 2010 - $600M 2011 – $800M, (Service Provider DPI only)

What is the expected verticals share in revenues for 2011? 

[DC] Cable – 25% DSL - 50% Mobile - 22% Other Wireless -3%

[JB] 45% Cable 40% Mobile 15% Enterprise 

Which regions (NA, LAT, EMEA or Asia Pac) are expected to increase their share in DPI revenues during 2011?

[DC] AsiaPac, EMEA (both emerging markets Africa, Eastern Europe, as well as Western Europe)


Do you expect to see M&A activity in the DPI market in 2011-12? Of what kind?

[RH] The PCC (Policy Control & Charging) market is very hot at the moment. There are many small innovative companies involved in DPI, policy, charging and VAS that all have potentially good synergies. There are also a few large equipment manufactures that still do not have all the pieces of the puzzles – so M&As in and around our industry is a distinct possibility
Dave Caputo, Sandvine

[DC] Consolidation of PCRF providers, and acquisition of value-added-service vendors into broader equipment provider portfolios.

[JB] Yes. DPI companies will acquire related companies, and TEMs and other networking equipment vendors will pick up DPI companies. This is a natural development as the market is going through a transition stage (see below).

What is the expected impact of the new Net Neutrality rules?

[RH] The latest round in the NN debate in North America has opened up the doors for North American wireless operators to begin to immerse themselves in our technology and solutions and start playing catch up with the international peers.

[DC] New Network Neutrality rules help to stabilize the market, and are aligned with our objectives of transparent and reasonable network management. (refer to our blog entry)

[JB] Net Neutrality will continue to have some impact on service providers’ willingness to make investment decisions and to fully utilize the potential of policy enforcement. This will be the case until clear guidance is provided on what’s allowed or not.

What are the current popular use cases for DPI in mobile networks? Do they (solutions or customers) require integration with a standard PCRF?

[RH] Most of the use cases we are seeing do require integration with PCRF and in some cases OCS too. Some of the more popular are:

· Application-based tiered services

· Tier upsell/top-up

· Bill shock avoidance/advice of charge (roaming, tethering, other)

· Intelligent Charging

· Cell congestion management

[DC] Traffic visibility is still a high-runner with increased interest in analytics for proactive marketing/operations decision making. Next is usage management for differentiated service plans (based on combination of speed, quota, or type of usage). Price certainty is appealing to customers, e.g. they would pay more for unlimited social networking vs. a byte-based plan. Combining policy control and video optimization techniques supports such differentiated service plans. These use-cases do not require integration with standard PCRF, as the business rules and policy decision and enforcement can all be managed within integrated Sandvine system (although integration with PCRF is supported, if that is the service provider’s preferred deployment configuration).

[JB] Tiered services, business intelligence, and congestion management. Yes, the requirements require a PCRF – especially to accommodate future ambitions.

What are the current popular use cases for DPI in fixed networks? Do you see demand for a PCRF-like (i.e. standard, multi-device) control there as well?

[RH] Beyond traditional traffic management and optimization solutions we are seeing increased interest in DPI-based services such as media caching (Video, P2P, etc). Operators are looking for an Integrated solution – e.g. Caching and DPI on a single network element. PCRF-type solutions are just beginning to garner interest in the fixed market.

[DC] Traffic visibility is still a high-runner with increased interest in analytics for proactive marketing/operations decision making. Next is fairshare traffic management for fair use allocation of resources to address peak-time congestion issues. Use-cases are typically addressed with already-deployed network elements that provide same use case functionality (distributed policy enforcement function) as a PCRF so no pressing need to spend CAPEX on a new network element.

[JB] Business intelligence, network quality optimization, and added-value services. PCRF-like functionality will be required in some cases. Fixed operators are in general eyeing what mobile operators are doing.

DPI vendors are announcing an “eco-system” vision and are adding Value-added Services on top of the basic traffic management offering. Which of these services do you expect to succeed?

[RH] Media Optimization & Caching and different.Security services – such as protecting the network and subscriber from malicious traffic.

[DC] Content caching has been around for a number of years, and provides value both in terms of decreased latency for subscriber, as well as reduced transit costs for operator. Parental controls is also a solid VAS. Video and media optimization is gaining momentum, driven by streaming applications for mobile devices – operators are optimizing their network bandwidth. Mobile backhaul offload is a new area in which policy control will play a large role.

James Brear, Procera

[JB] DPI has evolved from being an autonomous system, doing P2P management, to being fully integrated into the PCC ecosystem. As such it offers a plethora of new functionality and values. DPI’s value propositions are intelligence, optimization, protection and tiered services. The latter is finally being realized which makes DPI more business critical, adds new values, and equals more customer-specific requirements to manage their unique value proposition and positioning in a highly competitive market.

How do you see the future of standalone DPI devices? How they will win against DPI embedded in existing network elements? (edge routers, GGSN)

[RH] We are obviously betting on the standalone side, for few reasons in particular:

· Diverting the resources of routers, switches, GGSNs, etc., to DPI functions impedes performance of their primary task

· Standalone DPI Platforms are access technology agnostic – Having a unified policy control and charging infrastructure in converged networks support the standalone approach.

· Intelligent (DPI based) Steering and LoadBalancing is becoming a must have element for enabling different VAS in broadband networks. Most of the existing network elements do not support these function.

[DC] Standalone equipment provides the superior technology, scale and reporting capabilities needed for networks that have multi-vendor access equipment and require common policy control. Although “embedded DPI” can provide some basic capabilities, it is limited in its protocol identification and reporting detail, and reduces the performance of its core functional requirement –session termination. Once “embedded DPI” is turned on, the overall session performance of that network node decreases significantly, at significant cost to the operator (higher than the cost standalone DPI).

[JB] Standalone and integrated will be complementary of each other and live in symbiosis. The architecture of DPI is not the same as a router or a switch, which means that some functionality will not fit naturally in such equipment. Customers also request more functionality to be incorporated into the DPI, which in many cases will require a dedicated hardware to process it. But we will certainly see an increasing amount of integrated DPI. This is inline with our “DPI Everywhere” vision, and as a software company we’re well positioned for this evolution.

When do you expect to see a new level of performance in DPI devices? What are the important performance parameters?

[RH] Performance is one of the main challenges in our industry. We are proud to be the first vendor that crossed the 100G barrier in our sector. We just released the next generation of our industry-leading Allot Service Gateway, the SG Sigma E. It boasts 160Gbps per platform, support for 8M subscribers and it can be clustered to provide 1Terrabit/s of throughput.

[DC] KPIs such as #concurrent subscribers, #concurrent flows, and #new flows/sec are all the more important in mobile environments with dynamic session setups. Others include Gbps throughput, and breadth of protocol signature recognition, accuracy of subscriber-usage mapping. Carrier-grade availability is crucial as policy control becomes integrated with billing systems.

[JB] There’s a constant drive for more and more capacity. However, right now customers are more focused on price-performance and getting best possible value for money. The natural next step will be DPI with 40 and/or 100 GE interfaces. This will go hand-in-hand with network design shifts, e.g. LTE gateways being deployed with these interfaces. It’s reasonable to expect a customer demand for this, and products that respond to such a demand, during this year (2011).

Egypt Internet Blocking - Was DPI Involved?

Timothy Karr, the Campaign Director for Free Press believes that DPI was used to block the internet traffic from Egypt during the recent demonstrations.

"Other North American and European companies are selling DPI to enable their business customers "to see, manage and monetize individual flows to individual subscribers." But this "Internet-enhancing" technology has been sought out by regimes in Iran, China and Burma for more brutal purposes. In addition to Narus, there are a number of companies, including many others in the United States, that produce and traffic in similar spying and control technology. This list of DPI providers includes Zeugma Systems (Canada), Camiant (USA), Procera Networks (USA), Allot (Israel), Ixia (USA), AdvancedIO (Canada) and Sandvine (Canada), among others"

See "One U.S. Corporation's Role in Egypt's Brutal Crackdown" - here.

Updates - Camiant (acquired by Tekelec) does not have DPI technology; Zeugma is now part of Tellabs.

Any proof that Iran, China or Burma (now called Myanmar) are using any of the above equipment to control traffic for political purposes? Do you really need DPI to block traffic the way Egypt did? see below a chart showing Egypt's international traffic. It is enough to cut a cord to get this ..

The only fact presented by Mr. Karr is ".. Narus of Sunnyvale, Calif., which has sold Telecom Egypt "real-time traffic intelligence" equipment. Narus, now owned by Boeing [here], was founded in 1997 by Israeli security experts to create and sell mass surveillance systems for governments and large corporate clients".

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Celebrating a Year of Posts with Exclusive DPI CEOs Q&A Panel

January 30 will mark the first anniversary of my Broadband Traffic Management Blog. With close to 600 posts, the blog attracts thousands of visitors from DPI, Traffic and Policy Management vendors and users globally (167 countries, to be exact - see chart for the top ten).
It is interesting to see which posts gained the highest attention. Although Google Analytics provides only a partial answer (since it shows people accessing the home page as "/"), I believe it is still a good indication. The most popular post was the first "PCRF-DPI Compatibility Matrix" (that begun as a series of posts and now is a page accessible from the home page).

Next are the rumors about Comverse acquisition - is it going to be ZTE/Huawei (here) or Oracle (here)? - Both haven’t happened (yet). These are followed by analysis of Cisco's policy server needs (here) and Blue Coat's carrier cache announcement (here).

To celebrate the event, I contacted the CEOs of the leading pure-player DPI vendors, offering them to participate in an exclusive Q&A panel about the DPI market, trends and solutions. I was very pleased to see that all of them - Rami Hadar (Allot Communications), Dave Caputo (Sandvine Corp) and James Brear (Procera Networks) - agreed to participate and sent me their answers. Thank you!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post - and read what the CEOs think about the DPI market size and needs, M&A and why do they think that standalone DPI are here to stay.

ALU: "The industry needs end-to-end mobile data analytics"

Joseph Braue from Light Reading presents a video report on "Addressing the Challenges of the Mobile Data Tsunami" (here, see video below) interviewing Berge Ayvazian, senior Consultant for Heavy Reading and Lindsay Newell, from Alcatel Lucent.
Mr. Newell refers to Alcatel-Lucent's 9900 Wireless Network Guardian product (here - see chart for example, taken from "Policy Management in Wireless Networks: The Importance of Wireless Awareness" - here) as the solution that integrates the separated analytics data into one picture. Read more - here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Netflix Publishes ISP Performance

Netflix, the provider of OTT video streaming services, was recently the cause for the conflict between Level3 and Comcast (here), over inter-carrier settlement charges while putting Net Neutrality regulation into a reality test.

Now, in a recent blog port by Ken Florance (picture), Director of Content Delivery, the provider publishes performance data for US and Canadian ISPs.

See "Netflix Performance on Top ISP Networks" - here.

The blog has charts (see the US one below - Comcast is 2nd best) showing throughput over time. However, an equally important index, jitter, is not shown. While throughput may affect the video quality delivered (see below) to the subscriber, jitter may affect the number of times the subscriber will see the notorious  "buffering" phenomena and wait for content. See "BE (UK): World Cup Without Buffering" (here).

A recent study from Sandvine discovered that "In the United States, Netflix represents more than 20 percent of downstream traffic during peak times and is heaviest between 8-10 p.m" (here). So averaging throughput over a whole day will not tell you what happens at prime-time when everybody is watching.

"Currently, our top HD streams are about 4800 kilobits per second. Clients may switch through a number of bitrates as they ramp up to the highest stream, or shift down from the highest stream if they cannot sustain play at that rate due to throughput constraints. No client would sustain a 4800 stream from start to finish (there would at least be a few smaller streams averaged in for startup) but the higher the sustained average, the greater the throughput the client can achieve, and the greater the image quality over the duration of the play"

DPI Announcements: Astellia's IP Probe

Astellia announced "the launch of Neptune, its new generation of intelligent and high capacity IP probing systems. The first release, Neptune for Gn, is designed to help operators monitor and optimize their mobile broadband networks and deal with the traffic surge"

See "Astellia to release new intelligent probe for core data networks" - here.

Astellia provides monitoring solutions for the optimisation of mobile networks operating (see chart below) on a global scale since 2000, helping more than 175 mobile operators and equipment vendors to maximize their network performance.  The company is traded in the Euronext stock exchange with market cap of 32.9M. Revenues for 2009 were 25.6M and €14.9M for the first half of 2010.

The product competes with other vendors offering probes, and with the offering of DPI vendors, providing both monitoring capabilities (as a basic feature) and active traffic management and shaping.

"The new platform performs data capture over 1GE or 10GE Ethernet links [and] embeds a whole set of intelligent technologies such as:
  • Innovative Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to classify data traffic and identify the various applications used for every session such as YouTube, Facebook and Skype,
  • User Plane traffic and session summaries for usage analysis and fault management,
  • Highly flexible User Plane targeting and sampling"
Frederic Vergine, Astellia's CTO said: "Measuring and delivering the highest level of user experience applying differentiated QoS is one of our customers’ main challenges”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

AT&T Considers Speed and Volume Tiers in LTE

Zach Epstein reports in the BGR Blog that AT&T " .. may have plans to offer tiered data services when it launches its Long Term Evolution network later this year. The carrier apparently plans to trial two separate types of tiers alongside its LTE service: speed tiers and data tiers. Speed tiers will provide LTE data service at varying rates of speed depending on the plan a customer selects, similar to land-based broadband services currently offered by ISPs. Data tiers will afford subscribers “data buckets” of varying sizes, similar to the configuration of AT&T’s current data plans" .

See "AT&T may implement speed and data tiers for 4G LTE service" - here. The post shows a document with further details.

However, as we know data service plans are very dynamic (specifically in the AT&T case). Verizon was also considering the same ideas (back in November - see "Verizon - Speed and Usage Price Tiering" - here) but is expected now, with the launch of the iPhone, to offer an unlimited data plan for its smartphone customers. It was said then that "The speed factor throws in another wrinkle in how carriers are looking to price their data plans".

Openet CMO:"Verizon prepared their network with a policy management infrastructure sufficiently in place, to handle the volume increase with stride"

Stefanie Mosca, TMCnet Web Editor (picture), interviewed Openet CMO, Mike Manzo, following the recent iPhone launch at Verizon Wireless.
See "Policy Management – CMO of Openet Discusses the Verizon iPhone Rollout with TMCnet" - here. 

According to Manzo: "the biggest question people are asking is whether Verizon will be able to handle the congestion management that AT&T experienced with the iPhone .. No one really knows whether Verizon has adequately prepared for the volume that the device tends to introduce to network operators, But my hunch is they have. They’ve waited long enough and prepared their network with a policy management infrastructure sufficiently in place, to handle the volume increase with stride .. My true prediction is that Verizon’s network will see the issues [network congestion] but will fix them quickly after watching what AT&T has gone through and what obstacles they have come across in the past two or three years and prepared themselves.

See also: 
  • "[Engadget] Verizon: No Tiering; Unlimited Data for Smaretphone - $30/Month" - here
  • "[WSJ]: Verizon is Confident its Network Can Support Unlimited Data Plans w/iPhone" - here.


Amdocs Launches PCRF

Earlier this week Amdocs had a [soft] launch of a new PCRF product as part of its "Service Monetization and Control Solution" (here).
The new solution "takes advantage of Amdocs Convergent Charging’s advanced event-processing capabilities and adds a comprehensive policy layer to it". See below a nice video explaining the new offering (main character played by one of the Israeli version of "the office" cast).

Sources in the company tell me that the PCRF function has interoperability with Allot and one more DPI vendor.

Additional details on the solution components:

Amdocs Convergent Charging (Turbo Charging) – the latest release of the Amdocs real time charging product .. It is this unique combination that allows Amdocs Convergent Charging (Turbo Charging) to deliver real business value to customers and enable the emergence of new and sophisticated charging schemes.

Amdocs Policy Manager – The policy manager adds the policy and charging rule function (PCRF) capabilities. Its capabilities are based on 3GPP specification but since the Policy Manger is built on Turbo Charging technology, it enables capabilities which is go beyond the current release of 3GPP and can facilitate advanced monetization scenarios

Amdocs SCP & SDP (jNetX) – Amdocs Service Monetization & Control leverages our leading SCP & SDP product as an optional component to the solution: 
  • SCP (Service Control Point) is used to enable monetization scenarios which require both Data control and Voice/SMS control via
  • SDP (Service Delivery Platform) is used for advanced network interaction scenarios as well as a smart gateway scenarios when required to interact with external elements in application domain and external SPR.

IPv4 Addresses to be Exhausted Next Week

Just in time for Procera's recent new release (see "Procera Adds IPv6 Support" - here), Hurricane Electric  predicts that the "Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) will allocate its final block of IPv4 addresses sometime next week"

See "Hurricane Electric Predicts Exhaustion of IPv4 Address Space will Occur Next Week" - here.

I am not sure if this is the end of Internet as we know it, but maybe it is time to pay more attention to IPv6 - after years it was defined as "a mandatory requirement for next (always next) year" 

“In order to avoid costly capital expenditures down the road and possible failure on their business continuity plans, companies must make the migration to IPv6 sooner rather than later,” said Martin Levy, Hurricane Electric’s Director of IPv6 Strategy. “Companies that fail to migrate to IPv6 will face a number of painful options, including buying expensive equipment to cobble together an address-sharing scheme or going out to the marketplace to acquire IP address space at a potentially exorbitant price.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Procera Adds IPv6 Support

Procera announced "support for IPv6 across the entire PacketLogic Real-Time Enforcement (PRE) product line. With IPv6 being central to many of the next generation network standards (3GPP, DOCSIS 3.0, TISPAN), network operators are increasingly moving to fully support IPv6 in their network deployments, driven by forecasts that the available IPv4 address space will run out during 2011 .. IPv6 is supported across the entire range of PacketLogic hardware platforms - from the PL5600 (200 Mbps), the PL7720 (2 Gbps), the PL8720 (15 Gbps), to the PL10000 (80 Gbps). Unlike comparable enforcement solutions, IPv6 is supported for all of Procera's deployed units, and does not require a hardware upgrade for existing units. IPv6 software will be generally available in Q1 2011."

See "Procera Networks Announces Support for IPv6" - here.

"Carriers are requiring support for IPv6 in RFPs today, as they secure their entire networks to be IPv6 compliant in 2011", said Cam Cullen, Vice President of Product Management at Procera. "IPv6 is on the top-10 list of key projects for all major operators this year. As the technology leader in our product segment, Procera is once again leading innovation by introducing IPv6 to Intelligent Policy Enforcement."

DPI Deployments (46): Sun Country Cablevision Uses Anagran to Improve Video QoE

Anagran announced ".. the deployment of their FR-1000 Internet traffic manager by Sun Country Cablevision. Replacing their legacy traffic management device with Anagran’s FR-1000 immediately improved Sun Country Cablevision’s customers’ quality of experience".

See "Sun Country Cablevision Deploys Anagran FR-1000 Internet Traffic Manager" - here

Mason Schmitt, Manager of Internet Operations, Sun Country Cablevision said: "The limited throughput capacity of our previous Internet traffic management device was a severe bottleneck on our network and it was incapable of fairly managing our available bandwidth across all subscribers ..  We recognize that video is fast becoming the key determinant of our customers’ Internet experience, so when we evaluated bandwidth management products, we focused on the tool that would enable us to provide the highest quality video experience to our customers – the FR-1000 won hands down and was less expensive than the competition"

Note the following (10 years old, I guess) page on Sun's web site (here) - "To avoid charges for excessive downloads and uploads, please manage your P2P share folders. See below to manage your share folder in Kazaa, Grokster, Morpheus, Napster, Audio Galaxy, Limewire and WinMX"

Allot Boosts the Service Gateway to LTE - 160Gbps Throughput

MWC announcements (and intentions to announce) begin to flow on a daily basis.

Among the first is Allot Communications that announced " ..the launch of Allot Service Gateway Sigma E ..  Boasting 160 Gbps of throughput and supporting 8 million subscribers on a single platform, SG-Sigma E is designed to meet the high-speed and extreme performance requirements of 4G/LTE and fixed-mobile converged networks .. Allot SG-Sigma E is the only service gateway platform of its kind to deliver extreme performance of up to 1 Terabit per second in a clustered configuration".

Previously Allot claimed for 60 Gbps, 1.6 Million subscribers and 240 Gbps in a clustered configuration in the Service Gateway Sigma. I guess the performance PR war was re-ignited (again) ..

See "Allot Launches Service Gateway Sigma E for LTE networks, Propelling the Industry to 160 Gbps Throughput" - here.

Shira Levine, directing analyst for next gen OSS and policy at Infonetics Research said: “For the mobile Internet market to continue its exponential growth, those solutions need to be specifically designed  to provide the performance and intelligence required to maximize network efficiency, enable smart charging and deliver next-generation services that will open up new revenue streams to operators.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Qosmos 2010 Revenues - €9.3M

TF1 News reports today that Qosmos, a vendor of DPI software, had revenues of €9.3M ($12.7M based on current rate) during 2010 - 40% increase compared to 2009.

See "Avec 9,3 M€de Chiffre d’affaires, Qosmos affiche une croissance à 2 chiffres" (French, here). The company also issued a press release - "Qosmos predicts 2011 to be the year of Network Intelligence" - here.

"More than a dozen new customers followed this strategy in 2010, using Qosmos Network Intelligence technology to strengthen solutions in cloud security, cyber security, network optimization and business applications, including:
  • Click&Decide, to analyze business intelligence and security data in real-time
  • CommProve, [here] to analyze data performance problems in mobile carrier networks
  • HP, [here] to strengthen the security of its telecom data collection solution, DRAGON
  • nMetrics, to accelerate their time to market with their network and application monitoring and reporting solutions
  • Vedicis, for advanced capabilities in policy control and traffic management
  • Several Tier 1 vendors of telecom equipment and enterprise security solutions

Flash Networks Takes Optimization to the Cell Level

Managing data congestion at the cell level is a long-due goal for mobile carriers and traffic management vendors. A granular solution, that is able to manage traffic on a cell and/or backhaul link basis will allow carriers to delay investments in backhaul bandwidth and radio capacity while improving QoE - and may enable QoS based services and increase ARPU.

It should also qualify as "reasonable traffic management" as far as Net Neutrality is concerned.

Flash Networks announced today "the introduction of Cell-Based Data Optimization, a more precise way to apply optimization techniques on mobile data networks to alleviate radio and backhaul congestion. Cell-Based Data Optimization capabilities enable mobile operators to apply the most relevant optimization technique for each cell, limiting the need for frequent radio expansions, while improving the user experience" 

See "Flash Networks Launches Cell-Based Data Optimization" - here. See recent coverage on Flash business - here.

The release does not explain how Flash Networks' core-located Harmony Mobile Internet Services Gateway is being notified on the dynamic status of each cell and the subscribers currently connected to it, which is not a trivial challenge, or if additional devices would be needed at the cell side.

"Cell-Based Data Optimization uses dynamic policies to ensure the most relevant optimization technique is applied to each cell based on precise traffic patterns such as busy hours or increased activity due to sporting events or concerts. By varying the level of optimization, the network is used more efficiently while ensuring the best possible user experience for all subscribers, for example providing smoother viewing of YouTube video on mobile phones with fewer interruptions and less buffering" 

Adaptive optimization enables operators to offer mobile broadband service with the best possible user experience, while dramatically reducing the load on the radio and backhaul,” said Merav Bahat, (picture) Vice President of Marketing and Business Development

See also: 
  • Openet: Get Ready for Mother's Day (or: Predictive Congestion Management) - here
  • DPI Announcements: Procera Improves Congestion Reporting - here
  • DPI/QoS Announcements: Cell Congestion Management Solutions from Openet and Sycamore - here
  • DPI Announcements - Allot Launches CellWise - here  



[Engadget] Verizon: No Tiering; Unlimited Data for Smaretphone - $30/Month

Just 2 months ago we heard that Verizon thinks that "Speed and Usage Price Tiering" (here) is good. Nevertheless, since the giant does not like the FCC (here) and probably heard this ("FCC: Usage-Based Pricing is Important" - here) it decided to go in the opposite direction of the general market trends.

Source: Engadget
It was expected since the launch of the iPhone (see "[WSJ]: Verizon is Confident its Network Can Support Unlimited Data Plans w/iPhone" - here), and indeed  Chris Ziegler reports to Engadget that the carrier will offer only one data plan to its smartphone users - unlimited data for $30/month.

See "Verizon tweaking low-end data plans, using '3G' distinction to upcharge for LTE" - here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Survey: Mobile Video Ranked #4 in Consumer Value

Tekelec had a webinar last week on a research done by Strategy Analytics titled "Mobile Video: Measuring Consumer Value and Tradeoffs" (available here, registration required) - presented by Randy Fuller (picture), Director of Strategic Marketing, Tekelec, and Chris Ambrosio, Executive Director –Wireless, Strategy Analytics.

The research analyses how mobile operator may maximize their revenues by offering sophisticated service plans, with specific reference to mobile video. Below is one of the introduction slides - showing the relative importance, to consumers, of the different mobile applications.

Download the presentation to see the rest ..!

See also "Allot - Openet: Monetizing and Controlling OTT Applications Use Cases" - here.

CTIA: FCC Bill Shock Alerts "would cost tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars to implement.”

The New York Times has a story about the objections to the FCC proposal requiring wireless carriers to alert consumers when they’re about to reach their plans’ limits, which is now even more relevant due to the move from unlimited data plans to usage-based billing (background: here and here).

Story by Randall Stross - "Please, Just Tell Me When I’m Nearing My Limit" (here).

The article brings the CTIA origination position on the matter, which says (among other arguments) that "customers can check their current charges by going to their carrier’s Web site and looking them up — or by sending short codes on their phones or installing apps on their smartphones that can provide a tally of minutes and data use. And if customers don’t remember to check, the carriers can shrug and say, “Not our fault.

Christopher Guttman-McCabe, vice president for regulatory affairs at the C.T.I.A. (picture) says "the F.C.C.’s alerts requirement would cost tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars to implement.” But the C.T.I.A.’s own written statement [here] describes an industry that has already made considerable investments in infrastructure that enable real-time alerts about use."  

Nevertheless, the CTIA indicates that "AT&T already provides three alerts to iPad users: when data use has reached 80 percent of the plan’s allocation, again at 90 percent, and once more when the allocation has been reached and overages begin and the SmartAccess program from T-Mobile"

See also a recent CTIA Blog post - "CTIA to FCC: Competition, Not Regulation Offers Innovative Account Management Tools" - here.

CTIA is consistent with his objections to FCC regulation (See "CTIA President: "we believe there isn't any need to apply Net neutrality regulations to wireless." - here

Sunday, January 23, 2011

[Calcalist] Traffix Systems about to Raise $10M

Calcalist reports that Traffix Systems (see "Vendor Review: Traffix' Diameter Router" - here) is going to raise $10M from existing investors and Magma VC who will lead the round.

Story by Asaf Gilad - here (Hebrew).

Globes: Flash Networks is a Candidate for a "9 Figures" Acquisition

Batia Feldman, from the Israeli financial news site Globes estimates that Flash Networks may be acquired by a one of the largest players for "9 figures" (i.e. over $100M), as it has yearly revenues of several tens of $million and moved into profitability in Q4 2010.

The article (here, Hebrew) has an interview with Liam Galin (lower picture), Flash Networks' CEO.

Mr. Galin does not provide numbers or comment on the acquisition rumors (other than saying that the company does not rush to exit but builds itself to be the market leader). However he does provide some insight into the business of wireless traffic monitoring, control and optimization.

"We start 2011with the biggest order backlog ever .. it is the 5th consecutive year in which we show growth in revenues and in the average deal size .. we do not need additional capital, unless we'll decide to make a significant acquisition"

"The market grows aggressively .. 2009 was a great year and 2010 showed even faster growth .. we have better technology than Bytemobile [market leader] .. both companies address the same market - world's 25 biggest operators"

"Our customer base has over 50 large operators ..Cisco has launched its own product and there are younger companies [Vantrix?] with new innovative ideas that are starting now, but it will take them a long time to present products to the market".

According to its web site, "Flash Networks customers include dozens of top-tier international mobile carriers including Vodafone Italy, SFR, Verizon Wireless, Orange, Bouygues Telecom, Optus, Telkomsel and T-Mobile Group".  

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Policy management is becoming a key technology for mobile operators (Vodafone, Orange)

A comprehensive article by Roy Rubenstein (picture), for Total telecom on policy management concludes that "Policy management is becoming a key technology for mobile operators as they tackle rapid data traffic growth in their networks: The ability to adapt a subscriber’s session enables operators to address traffic congestion and ensure service quality. But policy management is also enabling operators to be more creative in their service plans and even to deliver services consistently irrespective of the access network"

See "TECHNOLOGY TRENDS: POLICY MANAGEMENT" - here. (subscription required).

"Susie Kim Riley, chief marketing officer at Tekelec, says she recently attended a conference where Vodafone [here] presented graphs that showed the benefits it is experiencing from implementing the vendor’s policy infrastructure. “They were rather dramatic,” she says. “As soon as they started implementing [policy management], the network growth started to taper off because they were actively managing their network peaks.” Vodafone has managed to reduce peak traffic by 16%–24%, claims Riley"

See also "Policy Management: What Does Telefonica Need Now?" - here and "Infonetics Research: Policy Management is not only Bandwidth Control; Names Top3 Vendors" - here.

"Yves Bellego, head of network strategy at Orange, describes policy management as one of a set of features the operator is exploring across its networks for traffic management and ensuring quality of service (QoS). Orange’s focus is on wireless, but policy management is already in use for its wireline services to enable parental control of content. For mobile, Orange is using the technology to enact a fair-usage policy, downgrading a user’s download throughput once they exceed their monthly quota .. Orange’s Bellego and his team are exploring differentiated services. “We recognise this is technically feasible. However, is there any interest in doing it [from a business perspective]?”"

Friday, January 21, 2011

ALU Bell Labs: Network Behavior Analysis Helps to Detect Malware Infection

A recent article by Jin Cao (picture), Laurent ClevyLawrence Menten all from Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent discusses "Network detection techniques offer an alternative to existing tools such as antivirus software and personal firewalls. This article will review these challenges and the unique approaches by Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs researchers for using network behavior analysis to detect malware infection".

See "Security: On the Trail of the Elusive Botnet" - here.

"Current detection methods focus on malware detection software that scans individual computers. However, antivirus software and personal firewalls have proven inadequate. Botnet authors thoroughly test their creations to evade detection, but some malware simply disables these protection mechanisms ... Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs researchers are working closely with security and product development teams to develop a broad set of network-based botnet detection techniques that can be incorporated into products. Three of the techniques are:
  • Offline data mining and statistical analysis
  • Behavioral analysis of network traffic at the endpoint
  • Analysis of DNS packets at the network perimeter"
See a related post on implementation of DDoS, Botnets and infected subscribers detection - here (such as the chart below, from Allot Communications, demonstrates).