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Posts Tagged ‘Distributed ANDSF’

#WiFi is a Strategic Tool – but the ANDSF is Essential #PolicyControl

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

According to analyst and consultancy firm Arthur D Little , offloading mobile traffic to WiFi is “essential”. In the annual report from Arthur D Little and Exane BNP Paribas, it is claimed that WiFi offload will be a “key element of mobile operators’ network strategy”.

The primary reason given for this is that it can lead to significant efficiencies in spectrum utilisation. Although in the long term, 4G gives many benefits in terms of achievable speed, there is still a need for network diversity and small cells to complement macro sites. By using a mix of small cells that do not use valuable 3G and 4G spectrum, operators can use the spectrum that they own more efficiently.

To benefit from these efficiencies, MNOs need to develop a WiFi offload strategy. But it’s not sufficient to install small cells and simply obtain additional coverage, relying on user selection. They need to be able to make the process of switching between WiFi and 3G / 4G networks seamless, so that customers are given dynamic and automated routing options.

This is where the ANDSF comes in. It’s a new element that helps co-ordinate the selection of available access networks in line with the policy of the network operator. By deploying ANDSF solutions, MNOs can enable the automatic selection of adjacent WiFi networks for either all traffic from an individual user or even on a dynamic basis, according to the needs of each application.

Such solutions can dramatically simplify choice for users, enabling automatic registration and seamless handover, depending on configuration by the MNO. The ANDSF is essential to implementing an effective WiFi offload strategy.

However, to ensure optimum performance, the ANDSF must be able to support different policies for different users. One user might have a different price plan and access rights from another. In this case, ANDSF functionality needs to be available at the level of individual user devices.
GoS Networks’ ANDSF solution adopts the innovative step of decomposing the functionality between the GoS Agent and GoS Manager. The GoS Agent acts as distributed ANDSF client that can be deployed on mobile devices (UE), while the GoS Manager provides co-ordination, policy administration, distribution and backend database functionality securely in the network, managing all active distributed ANDSF clients via the S14 reference point.

By deploying distributed ANDSF clients under the co-ordination of a central server in combination with GoS Networks’ distributed PCEF functionality, MNOs can establish a range of policies to meet the dynamic needs of the network and users, obtain visibility and control of local conditions, and increase user satisfaction and customer experience.

If WiFi is to really make a strategic contribution to MNOs’ businesses, they need to consider how this can be achieved. Only by complementing their small cell deployments with the means to integrate fully into their policy framework will they be able to maximise returns from their investments. Deploying a distributed ANDSF client is a necessary step to reaching this goal.

Highlights of Policy Control & Data Pricing Conference 2013 – Part 1 #PolicyControl

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

We are delighted to have seen such excellent discussion and debate at last week’s Policy Control conference and welcome continued debate on our LinkedIn group, “Taking policy to the smart connected device”, which can be found here. Join in and contribute your opinions and observations about the key themes of this year’s Policy Control conference.

Here are some of the “hot topics” that we have uncovered:

Analytics

The need for a “feedback loop” involving real or near-real time analytics that accompanies device-level policy control is likely in the future if MNOs want to apply appropriate policy decisions. We agree, along with many others, that the device is one of the best places to create both an end-to-end and customer-eye-view of the network, specifically of its performance at the application level. We also agree that it is essential to be able to make these performance measurements independent of the Radio Access Network. For example, a rule that forces a device to always choose WiFi over 3G (when available) may not be appropriate until the performance of the WiFi network can be established in real-time and then applied to the policy decision.

WiFi Offload and Distributed ANDSF

Taking bulk data away from the network benefits both the operator and the user in that it reduces strain on the network and it also reduces the use of the subscriber data bundle. Essentially, MNOs need a solution that delivers excellent network connection from those available and that optimises user experience.

WiFi hotspots and ANDSF were both big points of discussion. The key drivers behind these two elements are the ability to reduce the cost of service delivery, and the availability of high speed WiFi technology to improve user experience in congested inner city cells.

Additionally, through device-level policy control, decisions can be made at an application, deciding which applications should be used over which access technology. For example, apps running on the device can be managed by the policy software before they attempt to connect to the network and before the signalling process begins.

Watch out for more insight soon in part 2.

WiFi Offload and Distributed ANDSF

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Today, MNOs are exploring new ways to optimise the user experience. One such method of accomplishing this involves the ability for a smart device to access both 3GPP and non-3GPP networks, such as WiFi, simultaneously.

MNOs are looking to offer users a system that keeps them connected to a network that satisfies their needs. The solution is to deploy a new functional entity, the ANDSF.

The purpose of the Access Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF) is to assist user devices to discover non-3GPP access networks and to switch between them seamlessly. This enables operators to implement policies on the smart connected device that allow for either one or several active access network connections to be used, depending on the requirements of the user, the policies established by the MNO, and the demands of different applications. This way, users can relax and enjoy seamless connectivity literally to the best network that is available.

Instead of relying on only the conventional mobile network, users can benefit from automatic selection between 3GPP and non-3GPP networks, removing registration issues. The ANDSF allows operators to create and implement policies that enable optimised connectivity for mobile devices. Doing so ensures that users have suitable connectivity to do what they want. Users won’t need to worry about, for example, switching from 3G to WiFi manually to browse the Internet or upload content. Browsing with 3G is sometimes the best way of ensuring a connection; at others WiFi may be more suitable. It all depends on network conditions, network availability and what the user is trying to do. The way to achieve a better user experience is to make sure that the user is always best connected. The ANDSF solution standardises this, leaving the user to focus on what they want.

GoS Networks extends the ANDSF to the mobile connected device, enabling MNOs to implement device-level policies and to make decisions before traffic reaches the network. The GoS Agent and GoS Manager work together to provide users with an optimised experience by identifying applications and traffic types, implementing policy, and selecting the best access network(s); activities which are all performed seamlessly.

Want to learn more? See our WiFi Offload and Distributed ANDSF use case.