taking policy to the
smart connected device

Policy as a Service is Coming – But it needs to be End-to-End

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

One of the key themes addressed at the recent SDP Global Summit held in Rome last week was the potential for operators to offer APIs that enable control of network policy. Such APIs can be for internal use – to enhance service offers – or could be offered to a range of third parties.

A consensus emerged around the idea that network ‘policy as a service’ represents a unique asset that can be leveraged by operators. Since they own, operate and manage networks, they are in a unique position to control Quality of Services for applications and users.

A variety of business opportunities have been proposed – from using policy APIs to secure service level agreements for customers with demanding applications (think enterprise here) to offering the same APIs through secure gateways to OTT application providers without network assets of their own and which may wish to enhance service delivery for their applications.

But there is something missing from this discussion. While it’s necessary to expose APIs from policy server and to create an infrastructure to leverage what remain as unique assets, it’s not sufficient. What is needed is the ability to go beyond the physical boundary of the network and to take into account the experience and demands of the user, as well as local resources that are available.

That’s why operators intending to expose policy as a service capabilities – whether to internal users or to third parties – need to consider deploying Policy on the Device solutions. PoD solutions can provide real-time information regarding application demands and the QoS that is available. They can interact with policy control points to ensure that applications that require particular QoS levels are prioritised on demand. What’s more, they can also provide a means to selectively switch between different access networks in a mobile environment, depending on the best available connection option for the specific service or application requested.

Policy as a service makes a lot of sense. It leverages a core operator capability and competence but it is incomplete without taking into account the specific experience of users and their devices. In order to deliver policy as a service, it is essential to incorporate PoD capabilities. Why not talk to GoS Networks to find out how to deliver true end-to-end policy control and enable successful launch and effectiveness of policy as a service offers?

Mobile Tethering is a Fact of Life. Plan for it and charge for it

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Until recently, there has been a range of contrasting positions to the growing phenomenon of mobile tethering. Some MNOs have been resolutely opposed to the practice, while others have steadfastly ignored it. However, new research by Analysys Mason suggests that it’s time to formalise arrangements and convert tethering to a revenue opportunity.

According to Analysys Mason, 37% of users in a number of key markets have used mobile tethering at least once. However, the percentage is higher among those users with tablet devices. Rather than using mobile broadband packages to obtain connectivity for tablets, users are instead opting either to use Wi-Fi or else connect via tethering to their smartphone.

The conclusion from the research is that MNOs need to consider including tethering options for multiple devices in their smartphone data packages and to capture revenue for them. While dongle-enabled mobile broadband for laptops remains popular, increasingly users will shift to tablets, which in turn, means that they will need more connectivity. Introducing flexible, multi-device packages for smartphone users will help meet this need.

What this means is that MNOs will need to be able to manage connectivity better. They may want to charge for this capability via the delivery of flexible and dynamic policies. Alternatively, they may seek to incorporate it into existing plans and simply to manage the experience. In either case, MNOs will need the ability to adjust network conditions to optimise the experience for applications accessed while tethering.

MNOs need a reliable way to identify mobile tethering and to deliver their chosen policy. Since tethering is activated on the mobile device, the ability to recognise tethering could enable the support of additional services, such as the dynamic selection of best available network. They will need to take advantage of Policy on the Device (PoD) solutions to deliver a range of tethering policies and to cope with an increasing range of devices that connect indirectly to the network via mobile broadband.

The solution is to deploy GoS 360°. This consists of two elements, the GoS Agent and the GoS Manager. GoS Agent resides on the handset and can determine when tethering has been activated and report this, via the GoS Manager, to the PCRF across the Gx interface. Once a tethering session has been identified, the MNO can implement its chosen policy.

The GoS solution enables MNOs to manage tethering according to the range of policies they offer customers. This means that they can more easily combine tethering with other, complementary services, such as dynamic network selection and WiFi offload. Why not contact us to find out more?

A Device-Based Solution for Managing Seamless Wi-Fi Offload from 3G / LTE Networks

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Mobile data traffic continues to grow, but evidence shows that the rate of growth has slowed in recent years, principally as a result of Wi-Fi offload. This could become one of the biggest challenges facing the mobile industry. But, if managed in the right way, MNOs can transform this challenge into a proactive strategy that derives multiple benefits for both themselves and their subscribers.

Instead of passive disengagement, MNOs can become actively involved with Wi-Fi offload so that they can maximise the benefits to them and to their customers. Indeed, proactive Wi-Fi offload strategies can create additional economic and strategic benefits for all parties.

Wi-Fi has a clear role to play as part of a heterogeneous approach to network coverage. Such an approach not only includes Wi-Fi offload as an option for users, but also encompasses use of Wi-Fi Access Points (APs) to increase coverage more generally within cells.

What is needed to enable Wi-Fi to fulfil this role is an approach that combines the benefits of both Hotspot 2.0 and ANDSF solutions, but which also incorporates smart devices and enables these to become an active element in the network selection, handover and roaming process. Such an approach would recognise the fundamental need to make user experience central to access network selection.

The solution to this challenge is two-fold, and puts the point of control directly onto the device. First, decomposing the ANDSF allows a client to be deployed on the smart mobile device to locally manage access network selection in co-ordination with defined network policies. Second, the client should also be able to act as a Policy and Charging Enforcement Function to maintain and manage policies in response to locally monitored conditions and requirements, in turn acting as a local Policy Enforcement Point (PEP) on devices.

Wi-Fi offload is both a necessity for MNOs and a positive boon for subscribers. The work of the Wi-Fi Alliance and 3GPP has produced solutions that enable network selection to be automated and seamless with respect to users. MNOs can deploy this solution to facilitate network selection and immediately derive a range of economic and strategic benefits.

By deploying key elements (ANDSF and PCEF) on smart mobile devices, the user quality of experience can also be taken into account, enabling, in time, richer service delivery and a wider range of options for MNOs and hotspot providers alike. Wi-Fi offload should be a strategic element of MNO planning: the distributed ANDSF and PCEF solution from GoS Networks ensures that this strategic role can be fully captured and monetised with clear and identifiable benefits for all stakeholders.

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