|Mobile broadband data services platforms
Shlomi Tenenberg is the Vice-President of EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) at Radware. He is responsible for all of business operations including sales, technical services and field marketing in EMEA.
Prior to joining Radware, Mr Tenenberg served as the Division Manager of Process, Diagnostics and Control Product lines at Applied Materials. In1999 – 2008, he was Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Marketing at Ceragon Networks, responsible for setting up and managing Ceragon marketing, sales and service operations. Earlier, Mr Tenenberg served as Vice President of Sales for Nexus Telocation Systems where he directed sales & marketing operations for the market of Wireless Two way Massaging & Automatic Location. Previously he was Senior Sales Manager at ECI Telecom.
Shlomi Tenenberg has an MBA from Tel Aviv University & BSc, Electrical Engineering from Ben Gurion University.
While carriers are transforming network technologies, they must also realign with the trends of services in a two-prong strategy – enhance mobile service delivery with IMS, VoLTE and LTE, but at the same time introduce cloud-based data services that integrate with the Internet developer ecosystem. Carriers can differentiate their broadband data services from OTT by using high performance, resilient and secure platforms and by utilising user profile data and user context and behaviour information that is generated from usage monitoring gateways.
Mobile broadband evolution
In the current mobile data landscape, both the scope and bandwidth of mobile applications continue to grow and evolve. Medical, financial, telemetry, M2M and corporate applications require superior performance and reliability; smart devices and feature phones, mobile dongles, and the growing popularity of video streaming and social networking in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) are accelerating the demand for incremental bandwidth.
As a result, there are three key areas of evolution from the point-of-view of a mobile operator:
Mobile core network
Mobile carriers are currently upgrading their radio access networks from 3G to 4G, Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, as well as integrating a variety of Wi-Fi and related technologies to further increase access bandwidth. As part of this process, the migration of Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network and the implementation of IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem)/ VoLTE (Voice over IMS) architecture both play a key role in facilitating the enhanced IP integration and broader collaboration. Backhaul and core bandwidth pressure is growing due to increased demand for mobile data, imposing new requirements for scale, ‘always-on’ connectivity and content aware GGSNs (Gateway GPRS Service Node) and PDN (Packet Data Network) Gateways (PDWs). This implies that network infrastructure elements (such as MME (Mobility Management Entity), HSS (Home Subscriber Server), etc.) set much more stringent requirements in terms of scalability, availability, resiliency and security.
Mobile Internet, applications and streaming.
The widespread use of smart phones, tablet PCs and browser-based any-to-any ‘on-demand’ connectivity models drive a tight binding between Internet-based services and mobile applications. Internet content delivery models such as ASP (Application Service provider), OTT (Over The Top), white labeling and new forms of CDN (Content Delivery Network) shape the way Web 2.0, video and streaming are transcoded and adapted to mobile end-devices.
The variety of content types that utilizes http as a transport (e.g. OTT video and large objects), along with P2P traffic and VoIP variants, requires technologies like the dynamic classification of traffic based on Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) or Deep Flow Inspection (DFI) of network layer 4-7 headers, to play an increasing role in the path to optimize both RAN resources (video optimization), backhaul bandwidth and latency (caching).
Additionally, new automated management for Policy Charging and Rules Function management (PCRF) is required. It is implemented to bridge the gap of the network infrastructure and mobile services.
Mobile data centers.
Mobile applications and services need to be adapted to operate as part of a virtualized data center and play a role in new, cloud-based service models. Internal core IT applications – including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and SCM (Supply Chain Management – evolve to be offered via cloud models, for example, SAP Cloud, Microsoft Live Services and IBM Lotus Live. Mobile access into cloud DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) as well as other mobile cloud models are about to evolve and enable mobile business customers to utilize private/enterprise clouds as well as peering clouds.
Mobile broadband emerging challenges
The aforementioned technological shifts significantly transform the thought process of mobile operators in EMEA. On top of the traditional requirements of CAPEX and OPEX reduction through eliminating the ‘dumb-pipe’ model – a challenge that fixed line operators faced a decade ago – mobile operators are seeking for more creative ways to enable new Internet-driven, tiered services. They seek to monetize the capabilities of smart phones to benefit from OTT business models, such as Google or Apple. To leverage their network investments, regardless of the engaged business models, mobile carriers are even more dependent on a diverse and still growing set of mobile services that should address the challenges, in the following two key areas:
a. Enhance mobile data and service delivery
The need to control growing complex network and server environments intelligently and effectively to meet business, application and subscriber needs, while better matching revenues with high network utilization. These challenges include – how to implement geo-redundancy capabilities, cost-effectively scale network capacity, build and integrate IMS tiered service model to support VoLTE and collaboration services based on SIP protocol, and leverage AAA user information to enable dynamic, real-time policy update.
b. Integrated with mobile eco-Systems
With the upcoming LTE architecture and the buildup of VoLTE as well as evolving cloud-based services along with OTT delivery models such as CDNs, the operator finds itself in a situation where multiple disjoint eco systems start to evolve from the “traditional” Gi interface for mobile data network into the new Gx/Gy/Gz interface standards.
New evolving mobile eco-systems can be classified as follows:
• Virtualization and cloud computing: Mobile data centers adopting virtualization and cloud computing technologies to offer cloud-based services to mobile customers, along with virtualization and “cloud-based delivery” of traditional core IT applications. These environments must operate within server virtualization eco-systems (e.g. VMware, Azure…) as well as part of various service orchestrators scenarios. Beyond the cost and end-user performance benefits, the ability to differentiate based on content, user profile, activity, and application is added value that can only be provided by a mobile operator, thus it is a basis for partnership.
• VoLTE: As it becomes a more standardized follow-on to the IMS service model, it is driving next generation SIP-based signaling and services. Core components of AAA as well as policy management have to be integrated within the general LTE/EPC (Evolved Packet Core) common infrastructure.
Selecting a well-fitted, mobile data solution
To fully keep up with the EMEA and worldwide trends and address the pressing challenges, a solid, scalable solution should be selected, delivering the following characteristics:
Be powered by a carrier-grade, high-performing scalable platform, enabling a virtual service delivery mesh/grid across the network PoPs (Points of Presence). Each node should be capable of running multiple virtual service delivery instances
Cutting-edge mobile application delivery services arranged as pooled resources across the mobile data mesh/grid
Seamless integration into the mobile networking eco-system, such as VoLTE, Gx network, mobile cloud and more.
Such a solution will deliver the following key values for mobile operators:
1) Enable mobile data by streamlining across the Gi interface, Mobile Service Providers, emerging EPC networks and the mobile data center to enable rapid service roll-out and fast time to market
2) Optimization – optimize mobile services and improve QoE (Quality of Experience) by offloading resource-intensive core functions and employing intelligent traffic steering capabilities to accelerate mobile data delivery
3) Resilience – ensure always-available mobile data services via resource health monitoring and geo-redundancy capabilities for applications, high-touch network operational infrastructure and services to guarantee transaction completion at all times
4) Scalability – flexible scaling to address business and network growth requirements using “pay-as-you-grow” approach with no hardware replacements for best investment protection
5) Security – guarantee mobile service delivery even when under attack, by mitigating M2M (Machine to Machine), network scans and emerging mobile threats
6) Visibility – enhanced end-to-end mobile data visibility through new data mining and reporting tools to bridge the network/service divide.
The growth of broadband data services is an opportunity as well as a network challenge. To monetize OTT services operators must not only enhance service delivery, but also provide the tools in virtualized data centers and eco-system management. Appropriate platforms should provide carrier grade QoE and resilience to data services and differentiate by using knowledge of the user profile, user context and the application characteristics.