The availability of high bandwidth wireless packet technologies coupled with competitive flat rate pricing has fuelled an explosion in mobile broadband. Analysts predict that within 4 years 75% of mobile data traffic will be driven by video, but are Telco networks ready to cope? Are Telcos postioned to make money from this explosion in demand or will it be driving even revenues to the OTT players ? Peer-to-peer video download applications, for example, can quickly consume network resources and impact the performance of the overall network.
In the era of rapidly-increasing bandwidth demand but flat to decreasing ARPUs, service providers need smarter wireless networks to improve margins. These smarter networks can offer service providers greater control of their network to optimize operational costs and enable new revenue streams. Users are demanding a similar media-rich broadband internet experience in the wireless world as they have in the wired world.
The impact of mass market mobile broadband has a severe impact on the underlying wireless core network.It neccessitates the deployment of next generation of intelligent packet core technology. Referred to as the intelligent packet architecture mainly due to the flexible and flow based policy and charging mechanisms that are integrated into the GGSN these intelligent mechanisms leverage Deep Packet Inspection technology to enable services such as Content Based Billing and precise QoS and bearer resource management. Consolidating everything into a single intelligent packet core node provides for capex savings as well as a more coherent single point of awareness approach to delivering IP services. This new generation architecture facilitates reliable, scalable, high density packet processing capability to meet the challenge of the data / video tsunami while reducing the overall cost of ownership for the operator The increased end user bandwidth available with mobile broadband technology is the resource for the sale of new revenue generating incremental services. These new services can be coupled with flexible flow based charging and DPI based content awareness to provide new and innovative marketing-led service offerings and charging schemes.
Understanding per-subscriber content traversing the wireless network is the critical first step to identifying problem areas as well as potential revenue opportunities. Which subscribers are consuming the greatest amount of bandwidth? Which applications have the biggest impact on your network? What are the time-of-day usage patterns? Fully understanding the usage of the network at a granular level is an invaluable tool to helping identify problem spots, causes of congestion, and which subscriber applications offer the greatest potential for profitability. Content management provides the answer to this business model challenge.
Content management platforms provide the means for operators to monetize the open Internet, make new revenues and, at the same time, optimize the cost of running these networks, making the service more profitable. It helps a network to transition from being a dumb bit-pipe to an intelligent profit-making network. In addition the use of an Intelligent ASN Gateway ( Wimax ) or S-GW ( LTE ) with its ability to manage bandwidth and deep understanding of real time content enables service providers to create unique and differentiated services.
Leveraging insightful reports and charts generated by the gateway management software, wireless operators will gain a deeper understanding of how their network is being used, where congestion problems may arise, and what revenue opportunities. This valuable information can be used for marketing, product planning or network control. Operators are able to extract a very granular view of content traversing the network on a per-subscriber, per-flow basis including hard-to-detect traffic, such as peer-to-peer file sharing or Skype, as well as standard applications such as email and video streaming.
The Gateway function supports extensive accounting and billing options for service providers, enabling them to effectively capitalize on service differentiation opportunities. In addition to traditional time and volume based charging the Gateway enables more flexible and intelligent charging solutions such as Content Based Billing (CBB), Flow Based Charging (FBC) as well as tiered and event based charging. Content Based Billing leverages the Deep Packet Inspection technology within the AGW / SGW while Flow Based Charging builds on the service data flow granularity provided by a 3GPP PCC compliant architecture.
The open Internet and rich mobile broadband model presents unique challenges to operators as they strive to effectively manage network resources and drive additional revenue and profit. Unfortunately , flat monthly rates with lowering ARPUs and the higher cost of burgeoning bandwidth consumption makes the mobile broadband business model challenging. Content management platforms help a network to transition from being a dumb bit-pipe to an intelligent profit-making network.
Rather than offering flat rate billing for opaque dumb bit pipes, operators can offer “smart” pipes that provide premium QoS for specific applications, such as video streaming or music downloads. The evolved packet core gateways leverage feature-rich, services at the edge architecture together with a full set of standardized and open interfaces. This delivers the key policy, charging and security enablers needed for service differentiation whilst protecting subscribers and networks from the threats posed by the new world of mass market mobile broadband.
Sadiq Malik ( Telco Strategist )