Friday, February 12, 2010

Mobile - Sandvine update helps mobile operators manage usage

[connectedplanet] Mobile operators looking for more fine-grained ways of managing exploding data usage got a new tool in their arsenal today from Sandvine, which made its mark helping broadband ISPs tackle similar challenges.

Version 3.0 of Sandvine’s Usage Management application includes features specifically targeted at wireless operators, including more flexible deployment of pre- and post-paid plans; increased visibility into subscriber consumption, enabling more targeted and fair usage-based models; better integration with policy servers, including Sandvine’s own policy engine as well as third-party servers; and an integration migration path from today’s 3G to tomorrow’s 4G networks.

While mobile operators have long had tools in place to create and administer a wide range of customer service plans, the advent of mobile data and the need to be more creative than ever about how such plans are set up and administered calls for more sophisticated traffic management schemes to be part of the mix, such as the deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities of the Sandvine platform, said Tom Donnelly, Sandvine co-founder and executive vice president of marketing and sales.

“What DPI enables in a mobile network is much more accurate and detailed information with regards to application mix and traffic and the subscriber and mapping all those things together,” Donnelly said. “There’s a lot of heavy processing required to keep track of all those different states.”

Sandvine last updated its usage platform in the fall. The vendor is perhaps best known for its role in Comcast’s broadband network, where it initially helped the cable operator manage P2P traffic; after some controversy Comcast tweaked how it used the Sandvine platform and related systems. All of which points to the fact that DPI, traffic management and policy boxes are simply tools for operators to use as they see fit – in mobile networks in particularly their application is likely to be varied and creative.

According to Sandvine’s Donnelly, in some instances, mobile operators have deployed the Sandvine box and built-in policy engine to drive usage management and pricing schemes; in other cases, a third-party policy engine is brought in if the operator prefers.

MWC: Sandvine update helps mobile operators manage usage

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