Thursday, December 31, 2015

That's All, Folks!

Almost 6 years ago, shortly after leaving Allot Communications, I started this blog focusing on broadband traffic management.

At that time, the leading technologies in this space were Deep Packet Inspection and Policy Management.  During the years, several other technologies and solutions took larger part in this domain -  such as signalling control, video optimization, caching and others.

The focus has shifted from limiting bandwidth hungry application such as P2P and usage-based billing to Network Neutrality, application aware charging, mobile cell congestion and value-added services.

After 3,617 posts, my job is done.

I would like to thank my loyal readers, coming from 229 countries - the top 10 (United States, Canada, Israel, India, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, South Korea and Russia) - to Guinea-Bissau, British Indian Ocean Territory, North Korea, Nauru, San Marino and Solomon Islands.

And to thank my sponsors during the years -  Qosmos, Openet, Informa, Sandvine, Allot Communications, ipoque, Developing Solutions, Comverse and DigitalRoute.

Thank you all!

Azi Ronen

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

AT&T Purchased Carrier IQ

Brian Santo reports to Light Reading that "AT&T has purchased the rights to Carrier IQ's network diagnostics software. Carrier IQ apparently no longer exists as a separate entity .. AT&T said, "We've acquired the rights to Carrier IQ's software, and some CIQ employees moved to AT&T. We use CIQ software solely to improve the customer's network and wireless service experience. This is in line with our Privacy Policy and provides a great benefit to users of our network." The company had no further comment".

Carrier IQ gave mobile carriers the ability to gauge the performance of their networks and services; for example, finding out why calls may have been dropped. But as noted, it can be used much more invasively. Exactly what data Carrier IQ's software collected and how it was used was up to the carriers, however, and none of the companies that used it then, or which may still be using it now, have ever revealed how they were using it.

Carrier IQ's diagnostics software resides on mobile handsets, but handset makers typically install it at the behest of carriers who use the data to improve network performance and customer service. Several US carriers relied on Carrier IQ's product, but at least one (Sprint) ceased using it several years ago after its capabilities raised concerns over possible invasions of privacy. Those concerns led to a series of class-action lawsuits filed four years ago that only now appear to be nearing a resolution.

AT&T and T-Mobile are believed to be the last two major US carriers still making use of Carrier IQ's software.

See "AT&T Brings Carrier IQ In-House" - here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Zuckerberg: "What reason is there for denying people free access to vital services?"

 Facebook hosting Indian Prime Minister 
Narendra Modi, Sep. 2015
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, continues to defend its Free Basics service, which became the symbol of India's Net Neutrality debate (see "[India]: TRAI Stops Free Facebook" - here).

In an article to The Times of India, Mr. Zuckerbrge summarizes his position in one sentence "To connect a billion people, India must choose facts over fiction"

".. In every society, there are certain basic services that are so important for people’s well being that we expect everyone to be able to access them freely .. libraries .. free basic healthcare .. free basic education .. And in the 21st century, everyone also deserves access to the tools and information that can help them to achieve all those other public services, and all their fundamental social and economic rights.

That’s why everyone also deserves access to free basic internet services .. when people have access to free basic internet services, these quickly overcome the digital divide.

.. Over the last year Facebook has worked with mobile operators, app developers and civil society to overcome these barriers in India and more than 30 other countries.

We launched Free Basics, a set of basic internet services for things like education, healthcare, jobs and communication that people can use without paying for data.

More than 35 operators have launched Free Basics and 15 million people have come online. And half the people who use Free Basics to go online for the first time pay to access the full internet within 30 days .. Who could possibly be against this?

Surprisingly, over the last year there’s been a big debate about this in India .. Right now the TRAI is inviting the public to help decide whether free basic internet services should be offered in India .. What reason is there for denying people free access to vital services for communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and women’s rights?

See "Free Basics protects net neutrality" - here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Astellia Optimizes Bouygues Telecom's Radio Network

Astellia announced recently that it "..affirmed today its position as preferred vendor for network optimization by performing successful, in-depth radio optimization campaigns for Bouygues Telecom, France. Astellia’s monitoring solution is already deployed on Bouygues Telecom’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks and analyzes network performance from RAN to Core. 

Astellia now further strengthens its partnership with Bouygues Telecom by performing well targeted radio optimization campaigns. Astellia’s highly skilled radio experts analyzed the activity of more than 2 million subscribers to optimize RF coverage & quality of Bouygues Telecom’s 2G and 3G networks in Paris. 

Astellia’s radio optimization activities focused on the detection of cell overshooting, crossed sectors, PSC/BSIC clashes. Reducing the need for costly drive tests, Astellia pinpointed coverage holes, traffic hotspots and detected bad RF conditions.

See "Astellia and Bouygues Telecom strengthen partnership with collaboration on radio optimization" - here

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ooredoo Qatar Launches CAT 9 w/Speeds of up to 375 Mbps

Ooredoo Qatar and Nokia Networks announced the ".. launch of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) three-band carrier aggregation technology on the Ooredoo Supernet. Nokia technology enables the operator to provide higher data speeds of up to 375 Mbps to its customers.

The higher speeds are already available in several high-traffic areas of Doha .. With this new technology, people using Category 9 (CAT 9)-capable handsets can benefit from data intensive services, including ultra high-definition video download, and upcoming trends, including virtual reality.

See "Ooredoo Qatar and Nokia Networks boost network up to 375 Mbps with LTE-A three-band carrier aggregation on the Ooredoo Supernet" - here.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

[Strategy Analytics]: How Operators Could Succeed in Content Distribution?

A new report by Nitesh Patel [pictured], Director, Wireless Media Strategies, Strategy Analytics identifies "strong ambition and alignment with operator assets, as two fundamental requirements for operators to successfully define their position in the evolving digital content distribution landscape. Additionally, evidence from successful operator initiatives, particularly those from Japan and Korea, indicates that targeting consumer appetite for local or regional content, and the acquisition of exclusive rights to compelling content both as significant for success.

AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, Bharti Airtel’s launch of music and video streaming services, Singtel’s video-on-demand service HOOQ, and Verizon’s launch of Go90 highlights a recent significant shift in operator ambition with respect to digital content distribution, particularly related to video. 

Strong demand for video content, particularly on mobile devices, has prompted mobile operators such as AT&T, Bharti Airtel, T-Mobile USA, Singtel, and Verizon, among others, to seek a more aggressive position in digital video delivery, despite previous failed efforts in content distribution. 
However, T-Mobile USA’s Binge On [see "YouTube vs. T-Mobile: Do Customers Prefer Price over Quality?" - heresignals an alternative enablement approach, leveraging network assets to provide optimization and zero-rated access to video content streamed over its network. Either way, operators must align their content strategy with both their ambition and assets"

See "Strategy Analytics: Strong Ambition and Asset Alignment Fundamental to Operator Success in Content Distribution" - here.

Friday, December 25, 2015

[India]: TRAI Stops Free Facebook

Another step in India's Net Neutrality regulation process (see "India Planned Net Neutrality Laws" - here).

Even before its public consultation over ‘Differential Pricing for Data Services’ [here] the telecom regulator, TRAI, has taken an action on the partnership between Reliance Communications and Facebook.

[Related post - "FB CEO: We Support Net Neutrality (w/ Zero Rating)" - here and "Aircel [India] Offers Facebook Aware Service" - here]

The BBC reported that "Facebook's effort to provide Indians with free access to a limited number of internet services has run into trouble.India's telecoms regulator has asked the mobile network that partnered with the US firm to put their Free Basics offer on hold.

A spokesman for Reliance Communications - the mobile network that had supported the scheme - confirmed it would comply with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's demand. "As directed by TRAI, the commercial launch of Free Basics has been kept in abeyance, until they consider all details and convey a specific approval," a spokesman told the BBC.

Facebook said that it would continue to lobby for its scheme. "We are committed to Free Basics and to working with Reliance and the relevant authorities to help people in India get connected," a spokeswoman said".

See "India puts brakes on Facebook's Free Basics scheme" - here.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

YouTube vs. T-Mobile: Do Customers Prefer Price over Quality?

John D. McKinnon and Thomas Gryta report to the Wall Street Journal that "YouTube said T-Mobile US Inc. is interfering with its video traffic, raising a new issue as federal regulators examine the wireless carrier’s streaming-video strategy.

T-Mobile recently began offering a program 
[Bingeon] that delivers video at lower quality in exchange for waiving related data fees. YouTube and its allies say T-Mobile also is lowering the quality of video that isn’t part of the program, including YouTube clips.

YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., said T-Mobile is effectively throttling, or degrading, its traffic. “Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn’t justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent,” a YouTube spokesman said.

T-Mobile declined to address YouTube’s complaints. In a statement, the No. 3 U.S. carrier by subscribers said its customers “love having free streaming video that never hits their data bucket” and like “both the quality of their video experience and the complete control they have.”

According to T-Mobile the video quality in the Binge On service plan "looks great. Binge On™ optimizes video quality for smartphone screens. It provides a great DVD-quality experience (typically 480p or better) which can also minimize buffering and maximize quality while using a fraction of the data. But it is your choice. If you want a higher resolution data experience, you can always choose to turn off Binge On™; however, you will no longer have the ability to stream for free from your favorite streaming services or have video optimized for your smartphone screen resulting in higher usage of your high speed data .. 

..All of our included video streaming services will be optimized when using the app or streaming through browsers

..if you are streaming video from one of our Binge On providers while tethering from a smartphone, tablet, or mobile internet device to a laptop, desktop, tablet, or handset you will enjoy all the great benefits of Binge On

See "YouTube Says T-Mobile Is Throttling Its Video Traffic" - here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Analysys Mason: The Wi-Fi Calling Services Opportunity

A new report by Stephen Sale, Practice Head, Consumer services, Analysys Mason finds that "Wi-Fi calling lowers the barriers to entry to mobile services, but it also provides more-established operators with a much-needed stimulus to evolve their service offerings.

Wi-Fi calling, particularly in its native implementations (that is, adding the capability to native diallers on handsets), brings the following three player types into direct competition, each with the objective of full voice service substitution. 

See "Wi-Fi calling services: assessing the market opportunity" - here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

[Study]: Most Mobile Travel Sites are too Slow!

A new study by Radware finds that "76% of the industry’s top 100 sites are slow to load, paralyzed by third-party scripts and trackers, and image-heavy. In fact, the average page took 6.7 seconds to load on the iPhone 6, slower than the 4 second ideal time tolerated by shoppers.

..  By the end of 2015, mobile-booked travel is expected to reach $52.08 billion. with this level of exponential growth, travel websites have a lot to gain by preparing for the volume of mobile traffic they’ll be seeing in 2016.

Source: Radware's 2015 State of the Union: Mobile Performance of the Top Travel Industry Sites:
Do Your Customers Want To Take A Vacation From Your Slow Site?

The Radware report finds that there are a number of factors contributing to poor performance that can be fairly easily remedied: Overloaded with Requests .. Image Heavyweights .. Responsive Web Designs (RWD) Typically Optimize Viewing but Not Performance.. " 

See "Radware Study Reveals 76% Of Travel Industry Websites Aren’t Fully Optimized For Mobile Customers" - here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

India - 600,000 Comments so far on Differential Pricing Regulation

BGR reports that India's "Telecom regulator TRAI has received around six lakh [i.e. 600,0000] comments on its consultation paper over ‘Differential Pricing for Data Services’ [here]— one of the important issues under net neutrality principles.

“Till Thursday, Trai received about 540,000 comments. These comments have suddenly come and mostly around Facebook’s Free Basics service
[see "FB CEO: We Support Net Neutrality (w/ Zero Rating" - here]Today comments would have crossed six lakh,” an official source told PTI. The last date for comments on the consultation paper is December 30 and for counter comments is January 7."

TRAI's questions to the public are: 
  1. Should the TSPs be allowed to have differential pricing for data usage for accessing different websites, applications or platforms?
  2. If differential pricing for data usage is permitted, what measures should be adopted to ensure that the principles of nondiscrimination, transparency, affordable internet access, competition and market entry and innovation are addressed?
  3. Are there alternative methods/technologies/business models, other than differentiated tariff plans, available to achieve the objective of providing free internet access to the consumers? If yes, please suggest/describe these methods/technologies/business models. Also, describe the potential benefits and disadvantages associated with such methods/technologies/business models?
  4. Is there any other issue that should be considered in the present consultation on differential pricing for data services?
See "TRAI receives 6 lakh comments on second net neutrality paper so far" - here.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Comcast: Our Usage Meter is 94.6% Accurate

While Comcast expands its usage based billing (here), questions are raised if its metering system is accurate. One of Comcast's subscribers describes in a YouTube post his exchange with Comcast customer service over exceptionally high data consumption charges by Comcast.

"It all started about three months ago, September 2015, when I got a call out of the blue. It was Comcast informing me I was getting dangerously close to my data cap .. I hung up the phone, looked at the traffic logs built into my router, saw that I was not even close to Comcast’s cap .. November 9th, nighttime, we finally arrive home, and I decide to see what was happening with Comcast meter. It was showing I used 120 gigs of data! .. So I called Comcast the next day, Nov 10th, and was patronizingly informed that “it must be somebody stealing your wifi”. Possible, but highly unlikely. I’m a software developer, Linux kernel contributor, and I take my home security very seriously ..."

And it continues - see "Comcast data meter ripoff exposed" - here and here

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Xura Launches a Signaling Security Solution

Xura (Comverse/Acision) announced the ".. availability of its Signaling Fraud Management System, built to protect mobile operators’ signaling networks from sophisticated exploits and security threats .. With a tightly integrated firewall and analytical module, Xura’s Signaling Fraud Management System provides mobile operators with advanced, real-time detection of malicious traffic alongside smart prevention mechanisms.
  • Xura Signaling Fraud Management features an easy to control graphical user management interface that provides real-time views of detected security threats, blocked or suspicious activity, top attack targets and raises alarms in real-time for detected risks.
  • In addition, the system has a world-class analytics engine that provides high performance data collection and real-time streaming analysis of incoming traffic. This advanced detection means operators can filter malicious messages and report on detected, blocked traffic.
  • The solution also helps discover new fraudulent patterns, including attack source, types of attacks and attack targets. A flexible query module enables security teams to explore details of the captured traffic, to simplify and automate investigation efforts for the detected outbreaks. Lastly, native virtualization of the solution supports operators with hardware independence and plays a part in any ongoing NFV strategy. 

See "Xura announces availability of its Signaling Fraud Management System - detecting and preventing fraud on mobile operator’s core networks" - here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

[GSA]: 150 MNOs Have HD Voice Service

GSA updated its MNO stats:

"150 mobile operators in 87 countries have launched HD voice service enabled by W-AMR technology:
  • 128 deployments are on 3G/HSPA networks
  • 17 deployments are on 2G/GSM networks
  • 40 deployments are on LTE networks (VoLTE)" 

See "150 mobile operators launched HD voice service in 87 countries; including 40 VoLTE deployments" - here

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bhutan Telecom to Use Alepo's Wi-Fi Offload and Hotspot Monetization Solution

Alepo announced a " partnership with Bhutan Telecom, the largest mobile operator in Bhutan, to launch an expansive Wi-Fi Offload and Hotspot Monetization Solution for the Bhutanese market.

With Alepo’s Wi-Fi monetization solution Bhutan Telecom will be able to fully monetize its Wi-Fi hotspot networks by offering attractive Wi-Fi plans and promotions to its subscribers. Bhutan Telecom’s customers will be able to use a single mobile voucher to purchase mobile and Wi-Fi hotspot services, making it a simple and convenient experience. 
  • As part of its Wi-Fi monetization platform, Alepo provides an end-to-end solution for the entire purchase, activation, real-time charging, and customer care of Wi-Fi hotspot services, as well as integration with the charging system in the mobile core. 
  • With Alepo’s Carrier Wi-Fi offload solution, Bhutan Telecom will be able to leverage its planned network of Wi-Fi hotspots across Bhutan in order to increase its capacity for mobile data services as well as to enhance the customer experience of those data services.
Bhutan Telecom subscribers will enjoy a seamless 3G/4G LTE to Wi-Fi offload experience, thanks to Alepo’s full integration with the HLR and HSS in the mobile core network. 

The agreement with Bhutan Telecom signifies major milestone for Alepo. The “all things data experts” technology provider has announced several Wi-Fi monetization and offload contracts with many tier one mobile operators like Sri Lanka Telecom, Afghan Wireless, ETB Colombia [here] and others"

See "Bhutan’s Largest Telecom Operator, Bhutan Telecom, Taps Alepo for Wi-Fi Monetization and Offload" - here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CellMining Raises $5M to Further Develop SON

Another Israeli startup in the fast growing SON space (see "SON Market to Reach $4B (2017)" - here) raises funds  (see "Cellwize Secures $24.5M to Boost its SON Solutions" - here) following  the success of Intucell ("Cisco to Acquire SON Vendor Intucell; $475M" - here)

CellMining announced that it has" successfully closed a Series A funding round with a total value of $5 million, led by Lazarus Israel Opportunities Fund. This investment will help fund the Company as it further develops its pioneering subscriber-centric mobile network optimization capabilities, and will help it to expand into new markets. 

CellMining’s Behavior-Based SON™ solution analyzes the subscriber network experience in a unique way, identifying usage patterns to optimize network performance based on Customer Experience Management (CEM) metrics. This goes far beyond the capabilities of existing SON technologies, which offer mobile network operators (MNO) only limited ability to understand, measure and improve their subscriber experience" 

See "CellMining Raises $5M to Advance CEM-based SON" - here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

[Analysys Mason]: QoE is at the Center of Turning the Growth of OTT Video

A new report by Gareth Williams, Manager, Custom Research, and Martin Scott, Principal Analyst, Analysys Mason, finds that "Communications service providers (CSPs) have multiple options for turning the growth of over-the-top (OTT) video consumption to their advantage. Quality of Experience (QoE) lies at the centre of achieving excellence in the key categories of approach that we identify in this report" 

All approaches ultimately need to deliver a high quality of experience (QoE) to users, and this is particularly important for launching OTT video services, partnering with OTT video providers and offering solutions to OTT video providers.

CSPs should:
  • Consider investing in platforms to better support OTT video partners’, as well as users’, needs in order to increase revenue share
  • Add wholesale service capability to content distribution networks (CDNs) used for internal use – or develop partnerships with CDN providers
  • Extend the reach of their own OTT video services if they have access to unique or compelling content

See "Over-the-top video: a threat and an opportunity for communications service providers" - here.

Monday, December 14, 2015

BT to Offer Riverbed as Service to Accelerate Cloud Applications

BT announced that " part of its Cloud of Clouds vision it will deploy virtual Riverbed SteelHead application acceleration technology in the core of its global network, providing superior application performance for customers accessing BT’s own cloud services as well as other leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings. 

It is the first time Riverbed technology has been deployed into the core of a global telecoms network"

Related link "Gartner's WAN Optimization Report", positioning Riverbed as a leader in WAN Optimization - here.

"BT and Riverbed are embedding their services at global business hubs in Europe, North America and Asia in locations where BT has direct links to leading cloud providers and high-capacity internet breakout. 

The service will be available globally from early 2016 and accessible through BT’s IP Connect VPN from 198 countries and territories. A series of pilots of the new capability showed substantial network performance improvements for SaaS applications such as the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite.

In addition to application acceleration and network bandwidth optimization, customers using the new service also gain increased control over their applications, better end-to-end visibility into performance, and significantly improved reliability and security compared to delivering applications over the internet". 

See "Customers to benefit from improved performance when connecting to applications in the cloud" - here.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

[ABI]: VIdeo QoE (CDN, Monitoring and Analytics) Market to Reach $477M by 2020

A new study by Eric Abbruzzese, Research Analyst, and Sam Rosen [pictured], VP of Consumer, ABI Research finds that "Content Delivery Network (CDN) Balancing and OTT Monitoring, as well as Real User Monitoring (RUM) and Application Performance Monitoring (APM) technologies used to measure video services are growing, with associated revenues estimated to reach US$477 million in 2020.

While the video analytics market as a whole is rather mature, the desire for more granular, user-level data led to a shift in focus from QoS metrics to QoE services and data .. the increasing complexity of the IP video and OTT content markets will continue to drive both new and existing providers, operators and content owners to pursue deeper analytics capabilities to fully understand the experience of the end user.

Whether mobile or wireline, operators and service providers are focused on minimizing content start times and buffering delays while maximizing video quality and stream reliability .. Real-time, granular, user-level data streams allow the opportunity for a deeper understanding of not only how a network is performing but also how individual users are affected by network idiosyncrasies. Automated load balancing and network optimization platforms will help inform future business decisions, from content licensing to CDN usage

See "Growing IP and OTT Video Delivery Demands and User Experience Focus Drives Network Optimization and Analytics Services" - here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Netflix: The Challenges of Preparing Video for Best QoE

Anne Aaron [pictured], Manager, Video Algorithms, and David Ronca, Director, Encoding Technology, explain in a post to Netflix Techblog how Netflix prepares its video content and "encode them to the best video streams possible for a given member’s viewing device and bandwidth capabilities" which turns out to be a bigger challenge than what most people think.

Related posts
  • How does Netflix Optimize Video? - here
  • Sandvine: Streaming Video is 70% (Netflix 37%) of NA Fixed Traffic" - here.
"The video encoding pipeline runs EC2 Linux cloud instances. The elasticity of the cloud enables us to seamlessly scale up when more titles need to be processed, and scale down to free up resources .. Long processing jobs are divided into smaller tasks and parallelized to reduce end-to-end delay and local storage requirements .. A modern 4K source file can be quite large. Larger, in fact, than a typical drive on an EC2 instance. In order to efficiently support these large source files, we must run the inspection on the file in smaller chunks .. Before we implemented parallel chunked encoding, a 1080p movie could take days to encode, and a failure occurring late in the process would delay the encode even further"

"..At Netflix we stream to a heterogeneous set of viewing devices. This requires a number of codec profiles: VC1, H.264/AVC Baseline, H.264/AVC Main and HEVC. We also support varying bandwidth scenarios for our members, all the way from sub-0.5 Mbps cellular to 100+ Mbps high-speed Internet. To deliver the best experience, we generate multiple quality representations at different bitrates (ranging from 100 kbps to 16 Mbps) and the Netflix client adaptively selects the optimal stream given the instantaneous bandwidth" 

See "High Quality Video Encoding at Scale" - here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

[Exact Ventures]: Huawei Became the Largest PCRF Vendor

A new report by Exact Ventures finds that:
  • The Policy Server/PCRF market [in 3Q15] grew 37 percent compared to 3Q14, to $202 million
  • We expect that market growth grow by greater than 20 percent for both 2015 and 2016 and that the market will approach $1 billion for 2016
  • Many operators are actively deploying VoLTE, and in some cases with video, prioritizing that traffic above all else is key to maintain and assure high quality of service. Specifically, VoLTE traffic is assigned a quality class identifier (QCI) value of 1, which guarantees a specific bit-rate, minimal packet delay (latency) and packet loss. The PCRF is the functional node within an operator’s network responsible for setting the QCI values for each mobile application.
  • During the quarter, Huawei became the largest PCRF vendor by more than doubling revenues year-over-year to $62 million, narrowly edging Ericsson which grew nearly 50 percent versus 3Q14
  • Huawei is very strong it its domestic market and other developing regions of Asia Pacific and EMEA where mobile data services are increasingly popular and operators are increasingly sophisticated about segmenting its targeted customers via tiered-data and sponsored data plans.
Vendors Covered in the report include: Alcatel-Lucent, Amdocs, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia / Redknee, Openet, Oracle, Sandvine and ZTE

See "Shared Data Plans and VoLTE Drive PCRF Revenues in 3Q15, According to Exact Ventures" - here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Verizon to Test Sponsored Data (w/Allot?);"The capabilities we've built allow us to break down any byte"

Ina Fried, Senior Editor Mobile, reports to Re/code that "Verizon plans in the next few days to start testing so-called sponsored data, the equivalent of toll-free calling for the Internet age .. Verizon is working with just a few partners in the testing phase, but said next year this feature will be available to all comers at an affordable rate" 

Marni Walden [pictured], Executive VP and president of Product Innovation and New Businesses, Verizon said: "The capabilities we've built allow us to break down any byte that is carried across our network and have all or a portion of that sponsored .. We’ll be out in a larger commercial way in the first quarter of 2016".

A year ago I published an unconfirmed rumor that "Allot's DPI product SigmaE-14 was installed in 26 Verizon Wireless (VzW) sites for Passive Network Subscriber Analytics" (here). See also "Allot's US Tier1 MNO $9M Order: "not a classical DPI"" - here.

See also a guest post "1-800 Apps Concept: Superficially Appealing but Unworkable" - by Dean Bubley*, Founder, Disruptive Analysis - here.

See "Verizon to Start Testing ‘Toll-Free’ Data in Coming Days" - here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

SwissCom Deploys Allot to Optimize its Cloud Services; Integrated by Nokia

Allot Communications announced together with Nokia Networks, that "Swisscom is deploying Allot Cloud Access Optimization. The solution is designed to assure application Quality of Service (QoS) and improve user productivity by overcoming the performance degradation challenges associated with cloud data centers and application delivery.

Swisscom worked with Nokia Networks to integrate the Allot Cloud Access Optimization platform into their new data center architecture to support higher performance service delivery to customers. 

Using Allot, Swisscom can help enterprises overcome degradation challenges such as real-time video transaction loads, unified communications, file transfers, and endpoint upgrades, as well as Denial of Service and other malicious attacks by offering high quality dynamic data center services based on documented service level agreements (SLAs).

Allot enables Swisscom to offer enhanced high quality, differentiated, and flexible data center services to their enterprise customers based on comprehensive reporting and self-provisioning capabilities"

See "Nokia Networks and Allot Communications to Deliver Swisscom a Cloud Access Optimization Solution" - here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Sandvine: Streaming Video is 70% (Netflix 37%) of NA Fixed Traffic; BitTorrent is 4.4%

A new study by Sandvine focusing on Africa, the Middle East, and North America (based on data from a selection of Sandvine’s customers), finds that:

  • "Real-Time Entertainment (streaming video and audio) traffic now accounts for over 70% of North American downstream traffic in the peak evening hours on fixed access networks. Five years ago it accounted for less than 35%
  • Netflix (37.1%), YouTube (17.9%), and Amazon Video (3.1%), the top three sources of video traffic on fixed access networks in North America, all saw an increase in traffic share over the levels observed earlier in the year
  • With the growth of video, BitTorrent share continues to see a decline in fixed access bandwidth share, and now accounts for only 5% of total traffic in North America. Last year during the same period it accounted for over 7%". 

See "Sandvine: Over 70% Of North American Traffic Is Now Streaming Video And Audio" - here.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Nokia: EE Demonstrated MEC w/Edge Video Orchestration

A post to Nokia's Blog by Dirk Lindemeier [pictured], head of Liquid Applications, describes the latest development in the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC - see "Mobile Edge Computing Group Formed" - here):

"At the recent Connected Stadium Summit, held at Wembley Stadium, UK operator EE demonstrated the power of Mobile Edge Computing. 

An application called Edge Video Orchestration (EVO) shared live video of both a football match and a simulated security scenario to multiple screens with less than 1 second latency. The demonstration was the first of its kind in the UK and was shown to IT and technology directors of some of the world’s largest venues, including the All England Club which hosts Wimbledon.

EE demonstrated the capability of a high-performance and scalable solution suitable for deployment at the edge of the mobile network, with data processed and stored in a distributed manner". 

Related link - an interview with Mansoor Hanif, Director of Radio Access Networks, EE - "Iconic Wembley stadium is the “Mothership” of EE’s network" - here.
See "EE and Mobile Edge Computing ready to rock Wembley stadium" - here.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Microsoft iOS App Detects Mobile Bottlenecks

A paper by Nimantha BaranasuriyaVishnu Navda [pictured], Venkata N. Padmanabhan, Microsoft, and Seth GilbertDepartment of Computer Science National University of Singapore presents a tool (iOS app) helping to locate the bottleneck in a cellular service - which is not always in the wireless segment.


Mobile communication is often frustratingly slow. When a user encounters poor performance, and perhaps even “confirms” the same by running a speed test, the tendency is to ascribe blame to the user’s last-mile provider. However, as we argue in this paper, a more nuanced approach is needed to identify the location of the bottleneck responsible for the poor performance. Specifically, we focus on the question of whether the bottleneck lies in the cellular last hop (3G or LTE link) or elsewhere in the WAN path.

We present QProbe, a tool that takes advantage of the proportional fair (PF) scheduler employed in cellular networks to determine whether queuing is happening at the cellular link. After validating QProbe through simulations and controlled experiments, we present our findings from a measurement study conducted over a 2 month period involving over 600 real-world users across 51 operator networks in 33 countries. We find that, for example, the cellular last-hop link is the bottleneck in 68.9% and 25.7% of the total bottleneck cases for 3G and LTE clients, respectively, suggesting that there is a significant fraction of cases where the poor performance experienced by the user is due to the WAN and could potentially be routed around. Moreover, we show that QProbe detects the bottleneck link location with greater than 85% accuracy for both 3G and LTE clients in our measurement study.

Following are the results of QProbe test, on an iPhone 6, taken at my home in Tel-Aviv (Saturday morning, in a quiet neighborhood, is probably not the best time to diagnose bad connections):

See "QProbe: Locating the Bottleneck in Cellular Communication" - here.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bakcell [Azerbaijan] Deploys Sandvine for Zero-Rated Apps and Family Plans

Sandvine announced that "Bakcell, the first and leading mobile Internet provider in Azerbaijan, with the assistance of Bestcomp Group, has deployed Sandvine’s PCRF, the Service Delivery Engine (SDE), and PCEF, the Policy Traffic Switch (PTS) Virtual Series to power innovative data offers on their LTE-Advanced and 3G networks ..Bakcell has deployed both the Policy Traffic Switch (PTS) 24700 and the PTS Virtual Series running on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware

Bakcell became a Sandvine customer in May of 2015. 
  • One of the first offers to be made available will be content and application-based plans that allow customers to bundle unlimited usage of certain mobile applications (i.e. WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and many others).
  • Additionally, Bakcell will enhance family plans to allow pools of data for sharing across multiple individuals or devices. 
For both solutions, Sandvine OutReach will play a key role in allowing Bakcell’s customers to monitor their data usage and manage their data subscriptions" 

See "Bakcell Deploys Sandvine’s PCRF And PTS Virtual Series To Power Innovative Data Offers For Subscribers" - here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Cellwize Secures $24.5M to Boost its SON Solutions

I covered the Israeli startup, Cellwize, a number of times last year - which is unusual for such young company:
  • The product (see "Cellwize Launches NFV Based, "pay-as-you-grow", SON" - here) and,
  • Impressive deployments by large MNOs (Cellcom, Israel on Sep. '14 and Telefocina, UK on Oct. '14).
It seems that these winnings and the promising market (see "SON Market to Reach $4B (2017)" - here) led to an impressive funding round of $24,5M in equity and credit.

The company announced it has "..raised $14.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Carmel Ventures and Vintage Investment Partners. In addition, Viola Credit (formerly Plenus) granted a $10 million credit facility to Cellwize. The funding will be used to boost Cellwize’s innovative SON customer-centric optimization capabilities and to expand its market presence including a planned significant increase in its workforce.
Already in operation for over two years, Cellwize optimization solutions are implemented in some of the world’s leading mobile operators serving over 300 million subscribers".

Ofir Zemer [pictured], CEO of Cellwize, said: “Cellwize has continuously invested in technology innovation and solution leadership, we will now be able to further accelerate our product road map and our market reach to take advantage of new SON opportunities Our recent growth demonstrates even more, that enabling mobile operators to ensure a high quality of service for subscribers while maximizing profitability is essential in today’s highly competitive market space.”

See "Cellwize Secures $24.5M in Funding led by Carmel Ventures" - here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Zain [Jordan] Adds Procera's Analytics

Procera Networks announced an "..extension of the strategic partnership with Zain in Jordan. The leading provider for mobile services has been a Procera customer since 2012 deploying the company’s PacketLogic™ products to provide better quality of experience (QoE) for its subscribers. The relationship will now expand to include the analytics family of solutions to leverage the granular network analytics captured .. Zain is also deploying Procera’s enforcement solutions with online charging integration (Gy). It enables monetization of over the top services by restricting and enhancing access depending on subscription type".

Related post - "Zain Jordan CTO Lists Technologies Used to Ensure Capacity" - here.
Yousef Al-Mutawe, COO at Zain. said: “We have decided to continue our partnership with Procera through upgrading the current platform to the new version and adding on top of the data inspection tool the insights analytics solutions. Insights and its Customer Care tools will enrich the customer experience and engagement and will provide us with a wider view about our user’s behavior and deeper view about applications and user’s preferences.”
At the end of Q3, 2015 Zain Jordan had 4.1M subscribers (from population of 7.7M), During the first 9 months of 2015, Zain capex expenditures in Jordan were $40M, amounting to 12% of the revenues. 

See "Procera and Zain Deepen Innovation Partnership to Add Analytics and Enable New Monetization Strategies" - here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sandvine - $12M Expansion Orders; $27M in Two Weeks

We reach now $27M in winning announcements released by Sandvine since November 20th (see previous announcements of $4M, $4M and $7M).

The latest cam today, as Sandvine announced that it has "received expansion orders totaling $12 million from a major cable operator customer in North America. The orders largely relate to ongoing deployment of Sandvine’s market-leading Policy Traffic Switch (PTS) 32000 to enable business intelligence and traffic optimization use cases. Sandvine previously announced orders for the PTS 32000 from this operator in November and December 2014 [see "Sandvine: $5M Repeated Order for the 100GE Platform by US MSO" - here] 

.. The orders were all received in Sandvine’s fourth quarter and the company estimates that approximately $1 million will be recognizable as revenue within the quarter, with the remainder to be recognized throughout fiscal 2016.

With these orders, Sandvine’s Record Generator is now part of the operator’s Big Data business intelligence strategy. The operator will be able to cross-join key data about Internet usage with data from other business lines, like cable TV, to get better overall insight into subscribers and network activity for an improved subscriber experience. Record Generator will integrate with Hadoop for this initiative.

See "Sandvine Receives $12 Million In Expansion Orders For PTS 32000 From Fixed Line Operator In North America" - here.

ITU: "growth in Internet use has slowed down"

The ITU's "flagship annual Measuring the Information Society Report", was released and reveals the following:
  • 3.2 billion people are now online, representing 43.4% of the global population

  • Mobile-cellular subscriptions have reached almost 7.1 billion worldwide, with over 95% of the global population now covered by a mobile-cellular signal
  • By the end of this year, 46% of households globally will have Internet access at home, up from 44% last year and just 30% five years ago, in 2010. 
  • Growth in Internet use has slowed down, however, posting 6.9% global growth in 2015, after 7.4% growth in 2014.
  • Fastest growth continues to be seen in mobile broadband, with the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide having grown more than four-fold in five years, from 0.8 billion in 2010 to an estimated 3.5 billion in 2015.
  • The number of fixed-broadband subscriptions has risen much more slowly, to an estimated 0.8 billion today.
  • The report notes that the proportion of households projected to have Internet access in 2020 will reach 56%, exceeding the Connect 2020 target of 55% worldwide.
  • The price of mobile-cellular services continues to fall across the world.
See "ITU releases annual global ICT data and ICT Development Index country rankings" - here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sandvine: 2 Orders, $7M

Sandvine continues the wining announcements spree (2*$4M orders here, here), with a two orders amounting to $7M including a PCRF (see "Sandvine Will Compete on PCRF Projects" - here), and the 100GE PTS 32000.

The company said that it has "received orders totaling $7 million from two communication service providers in the Middle East & Africa (MEA). 
  • The first order comes from an existing Sandvine customer with a converged mobile and fixed network covering 36 million subscribers .. The PTS 32000 will be in both the fixed and mobile properties of the existing customer, which will allow it to unify policy control for subscribers across networks, regardless of how they are accessing the Internet .. Additionally, after a thorough competitive evaluation, the converged operator has purchased Sandvine’s Service Delivery Engine, which includes the company’s Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF).

Sandvine PCRF ServiceDesigner interface
  • The second order is from a new fixed line customer .. will be using Sandvine’s PTS 32000 and related software to optimally manage network traffic and enhance the security of the underlying networks.
See "Sandvine’s 100GE PTS 32000 And PCRF Included In Orders For $7 Million From Two MEA Customers" - here.