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Archive for December, 2010

The P2P Trap

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Although P2P traffic has shown tremendous growth in recent years, it is forecast to decline as an overall proportion of internet traffic by 2014 – accounting for 17%, according to Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Report. But, it’s still a problem for network providers and users – and evidently accounts for more than 50% of mobile broadband traffic in some networks – and needs to be addressed as other applications grow in popularity.

Generally speaking, the problem is worse in the upstream direction, as resources are scarcer than in the downstream. Once a user has installed a P2P client on their device, it uploads autonomously – someone else requesting content previously downloaded might receive it from a user without their active involvement. So, the content could be pulled from their device (i.e. consuming upstream resources) while the user is engaged in a different activity that will be affected by it, such as a video call.

In the downstream direction, the user might be streaming video and downloading P2P at the same time, which will consume downstream resources and cause contention. Theoretically, that’s more under user control and hence less of an issue.

Since P2P traffic such as BitTorrent depends on regular acknowledgements from the requesting device, it’s possible to control delivery by limiting acknowledgement of receipt. Rather than throttling traffic in the network, by which time it’s already caused a problem, adding control software to subscriber devices represents a more efficient means to control and restrict access to services on a per user basis, allowing different applications to be prioritised and to ensure those which generate revenue receive the highest priority. It’s not that network operators need to kill P2P, but rather that they need to find a way to live with it effectively. Adding prioritisation software to subscriber devices will ensure QoS where it’s required and fair treatment for competing applications.

Way Upstream: Why Upstream Traffic Management Begins at Source

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Upstream traffic management is to become a key area in network operators’ battle to ensure efficient network utilisation. While much of the focus to date has been on downstream traffic, there has been a significant rise in upstream traffic directly from user devices. Since most network connections are not symmetrical, there is a bias towards downstream bandwidth, meaning that upstream bandwidth is an even scarcer resource.

So, while user-generated traffic and the growing propensity to share content is exciting to users, “bandwidth hogs” risk affecting other users paying for premium services. That’s why network operators need to pay attention to subscriber devices.

Unless traffic is identified at source, there is a risk that heavy bandwidth demands can only be dealt with deeper in the network by which time, they will have already caused a problem and, potentially, have affected the provision of resources to users of higher-value services. With user-generated content growing dramatically, network operators have to consider how to offer the right level of QoE to all subscribers. Put simply, that means that either all traffic is treated equally, or else different kinds of traffic are identified and given different priorities.

Most observers favour the latter option – not just in terms of network efficiency, but also for ensuring fair cost distribution. Network operators need the ability to detect traffic streams at the point of source and throttle back upstream traffic from users when necessary without affecting their overall experience, by differentiating real-time services from non-real time applications.

Fleet Management: Building a Platform for the Future

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

According to Berg Insight , current economic conditions have created a tough market for fleet management with a renewed focus on cost – and those that focus on technology evolution will be best placed to succeed.

In this market, technical capabilities are a clear differentiator; the ability to augment basic telemetry and fleet management capabilities with additional services such as real-time tracking and remote data download will be critical. Similarly, although cost-management provides part of the motivation, other factors will spur investment in more “eco” solutions, particularly for long-distance haulage.

With multiple sources of data being provided, such as traffic updates and route changes, and bi-directional demands increasing, due to alerts for breakdowns, emergency calls and other data, fleet management solutions need to consider the aggregation and prioritisation of data at source. Use of efficient wireless gateway technology in vehicles will become a clear factor in leveraging service and technological differentiation to ensure on-going success and evolution for fleet management services. But, these must be deployed rapidly in order to provide a platform for future growth and enhancement, before the cost of retro-fitting more advanced devices becomes prohibitive.