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Archive for April, 2012

LTE Deployment Myths Exploded – But Operators Can Also Benefit from Policy Control at the Device

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

A recent briefing from A D Little has exploded some of the myths surrounding LTE deployments. Chief among these was the idea that LTE might not provide sufficient indoor coverage for data services. AD Little noted that the growing deployment of Femto-, Pico- and Microcells would considerably augment coverage.

But, in addition to the role that smaller cells can play, mobile operators should also consider the role that device-level optimisation can take in ensuring quality of user experience.

Even if cellular extensions are available to increase coverage, it can’t always be guaranteed that the right bandwidth is available at the right time for every application and every user. Similarly, within the cell itself, there’s no way of knowing what a user wants to do until their data traffic either reaches the network or they start consuming resources.

That’s why attention should be paid to solutions that complement physical coverage devices and enable device-level optimisation. By deploying software in mobile devices, operators can optimise performance in real-time to ensure that users obtain the best experience for their applications.

Coverage is essential, to be sure, but it’s costly to rollout devices to ensure conditions are appropriate in every location. But mobility means that users will expect their applications to perform wherever they are, which, in turn, means that they will not be satisfied by coverage gaps or performance blackspots.

By adopting a strategy that simultaneously addresses coverage through additional cell devices and through device-level software solutions for optimisation, operators can deliver the performance solutions demanded. Users don’t care about how performance is optimised, so long as they are able to use their preferred applications. Operators need to manage costs – a dual approach that leverages device-level software presents an opportunity to enhance user experience and to target investments in network enhancements more effectively.

Not all Bytes are Equal: Flexible Pricing Coming for M2M

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

As we reported recently, there is strong motivation for mobile operators to add value to M2M propositions through an approach modelled on how Amazon colonised the retail community and led through platform innovations. Recent research adds to this debate by arguing that flexible pricing is a key element of any M2M strategy.

This is because not all bytes are equal. While it’s true that many M2M applications are concerned only with the exchange of relatively simple data without particularly stringent transmission or latency demands – and hence such services are unlikely to command premium prices, it’s also clear that many other applications will be both more data hungry and have much stricter demands, allowing operators to create tiered and premium revenue streams from M2M applications.

Premium M2M applications will require differential treatment and priorities. This means that operators need to have the capabilities to service such applications and to understand how the needs of different applications and verticals will evolve.

What’s interesting is the suggestion that fixed-rate pricing is a short-lived approach. In the long-term a customised model is likely to dominate in M2M markets. Even more interesting is the recognition that roaming is going to be more important – operators with global coverage will be able to meet demands across multiple countries and continents. Of course, local conditions will vary, so they will be faced with the challenge of ensuring consistent, reliable service even where conditions are sub-optimal.

All of which means that operators are going to have to address the end-to-end aspect of M2M communications in a more sophisticated way. To deliver solutions that have flexible pricing, with consistent quality across multiple markets will require additional tools, including the ability to prioritise and sort M2M traffic before it reaches the network. As M2M devices can be expected to have a long service life and must have minimal operating costs, operators need to plan ahead to consider how to deliver the best M2M experience for their customers.

They can’t see how the market will evolve, necessarily, but they can ensure that they deploy solutions that cater for changing demands and requirements from day one. After all, since not all bytes are equal, they can’t afford to miss the opportunity to capture the most valuable.

End-to-End Considerations for Policy Control

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

The policy market continues to grow with various forecasts being regularly updated to indicate a multi-billion market. Of course, it would be interesting to see forecasts for revenue that can be driven by the deployment of policy control solutions and we shall comment on this when we see it.

In an interesting summary of the various market forecasts, blogger Azi Ronen, has also included an illuminating diagram from Analysys Mason. What’s interesting here is what’s missing.

There is clearly an understanding that DPI / Policy Control solutions are part of the core and edge of the network, but the access devices and user equipment doesn’t form part of theoretical deployment of policy solutions, at least in this conception. As we know, this must change.

End-to-end policy depends on the deployment of software in end-user devices. Without this, policy solutions can only act at the network level. Users demand the best quality of service for both downstream and upstream applications; they may not know anything about QoS or still less care, but they do know when things don’t work as they expect.

By extending policy control solutions into user devices, network operators can ensure that connectivity and application performance are optimised in real-time. Applications that need real-time performance can be prioritised when required. Applications that are not real-time can be managed so that they consume less resources when bandwidth is required by more demanding applications.

It’s time for the picture to be updated. Policy management is rightly attracting a lot of attention and it’s an evolving market. But it’s also clear that there’s something missing. We complete the picture. With GoS 360º, operators can truly deliver end-to-end policy control that enables them to satisfy more of their customers, more of the time, saving costs and increasing profit.