taking policy to the
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Posts Tagged ‘bandwidth demand’

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?

How to Intelligently Manage the User Experience to Prevent Churn and Attract New Subscribers

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Mobile network operators can do much to optimise services and conditions for their users. They have control of the network but there are limitations. MNOs cannot take action to manage conditions in user equipment. As smart devices have proliferated and as users have enthusiastically adopted more and more bandwidth intensive applications and services, the need to be able to manage user experience in devices has become increasingly pressing.

An additional complication comes from the fact that networks are increasingly heterogeneous. That is, in addition to the RAN technology deployed – UMTS, or, increasingly, LTE – complementary technologies such as WiFi are being deployed to increase coverage, provide backhaul and offload solutions.

MNOs are striving to provide the best experience for their customers. They want them to use the best technology for their applications and will be deploying solutions such as the ANDSF to manage handover and switching between different access networks.
But to do so intelligently requires detailed knowledge of what the user is doing – both in terms of active applications that require bandwidth and in terms of applications that consume resources in the background via automated updates and so on.

This means that MNOs have to take steps to obtain information on application demands and consumption from inside smart devices, so that they can efficiently manage network resources and connectivity to the most appropriate access solution. All of this must be managed in real-time: some applications – for example, video streaming – can have fluctuating demands, which need to be managed. MNOs need both to be able to monitor application requirements from devices in real-time and to be able to manage connectivity and resource consumption locally so that an optimised experience can be delivered, all of the time, taking into account the needs of other adjacent users.

One solution is to deploy specialised client software such as the GoS distributed ANDSF / PCEF in smart devices. GoS can both report to centralised platforms such as the PCRF and execute policy control functions, including handover to alternative access networks or managing excess signalling in order to ensure an optimised user experience.

It is only by extending their reach to smart devices that MNOs can overcome limitations to their network management capabilities. If they do not extend QoE and policy frameworks into smart devices, they will be unable to deliver the user experience required. Network performance and quality will be key differentiators in the future and there are already signs that users are churning to networks in the expectation and promise of better performance. MNOs have to take steps to ensure that they can really deliver on their promises and client-based solutions can help them to achieve this goal.

Extending the CDN – How Policy on Smart Devices Can Enable Telcos to Add Value

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Speakers at the recent Mobile Video Optimisation event in Berlin agreed that the mobile cell is the next critical area for delivering high quality video services. At this point in the mobile network, the lowest common denominator rules. And yet, analysts are united in their predictions that mobile video consumption will enjoy spectacular growth – the only debate concerns the rate.

But if this growth is to be enjoyed with the quality of experience levels demanded by users, the network has to evolve to cope. At present, OTT video providers either leverage their own CDNs or form partnerships with specialist providers. Telcos that are entering the fray are building their own ‘telco CDNs’ or partnering with other providers. The point of the CDN is to bring content closer to the user, to reduce traffic across the network or the complexities of server connectivity. This is fine as far as it goes, but it still leaves the delivery subject to the conditions in the last mile or in the RAN.

There are a number of ways in which content delivery can be optimised for users in the RAN. One such that has attracted considerable attention is WiFi offload – many mobile subscribers automatically connect to WiFi networks as soon as they find one and MNOs can leverage this in several ways. By offloading bulk data delivery to WiFi networks, MNOs can save costs and, where the WiFi network offers a higher bandwidth connection than is available in the RAN, they can deliver a better user experience.

There are also moves afoot to bring content servers directly to the base stations as well as proposals to implement caching on user devices so that content can be delivered more economically, intelligently and efficiently. Such an approach can provide optimised pre-loading of user targeted content (either through promotions tied to analysis of viewer behaviour and viewing patterns) or based on explicit preferences that are expressed by the user. Either way, off-peak delivery and use of WiFi networks can be leveraged to reduce content delivery costs.

Extending policy enforcement and monitoring to smart devices enables policies to be established to enhance user experience where they are needed – on user devices where content is actually experienced – while, at the same time, remaining fully integrated with the overall network policy control and analytics framework. Although this remains some way off, there’s no question that smart devices will have a crucial role to play in managing video content delivery and optimising the user experience.

Given the growth forecast for video traffic and despite advances in network coverage and bandwidth due to the rollout of LTE, technologies such as adaptive bitrate codecs and high definition video present challenges. Adaptive bitrate is, by definition, unpredictable and MNOs cannot easily predict consumption. It’s even more difficult with capped mobile data plans, as the user may not be aware that changes to the codec may consume more of their allowance mid-session. However, this opens up the potential for increased dynamic control of bearer connections for real-time content delivery and increased bandwidth on a per session or mid-session basis. If more bandwidth is required for HD, then mechanisms need to be in place to provide such capacity and to inform the user if this has an impact on their data plans. This can be achieved more effectively and efficiently once policy monitoring and enforcement is available on smart devices.

Extending policy control functions to devices is essential in a world in which video traffic dominates mobile data consumption. Local caching will depend on close integration with policy engines to control delivery, charging and consumption monitoring – as well as quality. MNOs need to consider how to address this issue now to plan for the growth in consumption so that they pre-empt these issues. As has been proven time and time again with migrations to higher-bandwidth technologies, once LTE is available, users will find ways to consume more data – and MNOs need to be ready to support this at all levels.

Of course, MNOs will capitalise on such measures, but they also present opportunities to forge partnerships with other CDN providers. Since telcos and MNOs effectively dominate in the last mile (or cell), they are uniquely placed to provide solutions that can help CDNs as mobile video consumption gathers pace.

Why not talk to GoS Networks and find out how integrating policy enforcement and monitoring to smart devices can help manage and enhance the mobile video experience?