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Posts Tagged ‘LTE’

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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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?

The Interesting Thing About Mobile Data #PolicyControl #Telecom

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Much of the research published about mobile data tends to focus on the predicted volume that is expected to be demanded by users. While there is some disagreement on the absolute numbers, there is a solid consensus that it’s going to be large. Of course the interpretation of this varies. One recent report has provided useful insight, which points to an area that MNOs will have to address.

According to industry analysts Juniper, 60% of mobile data traffic will be carried, not by conventional mobile networks, but by WiFi . The network of tomorrow will be a mix of LTE, legacy technologies such as 3G, and a diverse set of small cells that leverage WiFi and related technologies.

This means that MNOs must increasingly consider how they will route traffic in their network. Until now, users have often unilaterally selected WiFi access to obtain faster download speeds, avoid costly roaming charges, or to bypass their plan limits. This manual selection has the result that they typically leave their MNO’s network for a competing WiFi solution where one is available.

By deploying a greater mix of WiFi, small cells and macro cells, in other words, moving to heterogeneous networks, MNOs will increasingly include alternative access technologies as part of their offer. This will help them retain customers and fully leverage their investments.

But, to ensure that users leverage these, MNOs need to help them in network selection. They need to be able to seamlessly connect users to the best available network and to do so selectively, based on the demands of different applications and traffic types.

This is where the ANDSF comes in. It’s early days for this new(ish) entity, but it is likely to assume a central role in future networks. Juniper’s research implies a significantly increased role for the ANDSF, as something has to manage the selection of the most appropriate access technology and this is the most likely solution.

It’s not going to be sufficient, however, to simply deploy centralised ANDSF solutions. MNOs will need to extend ANDSF and TDF functionality into mobile devices, to ensure that traffic management and access network selection decisions are made according to local conditions and demands.

The network is evolving and migration to LTE will lead to many changes. But headlines about the growth in mobile data traffic don’t tell the whole story. MNOs need to consider the likely mix of data traffic on their network as well as the kinds of applications that drive it. This level of detail will help them determine the appropriate mix of access technologies in their (heterogeneous) networks. MNOs will need to explore how a distributed ANDSF architecture can help them achieve optimal traffic routing. Device-based ANDSF solutions will complement those in the network, helping deliver the best customer experience and ensure that users stay connected to the MNO network.