Light Reading

Softbank Asks Ericsson for Congestion Relief

Sarah Thomas
8/11/2014
50%
50%

Japanese mobile giant Softbank has enlisted the help of Ericsson to build software to dynamically manage network congestion in its heavily trafficked markets.

Together, the duo has come up with Mobility-based Policy software that they say will allow SoftBank Corp. to dynamically allocate radio resources on a per-user, per-terminal basis while also reducing network-wide signaling traffic.

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) says the software works by creating a direct connection between its SGSN-MME and its policy controller, enabling the exchange of mobility management and policy decisions to flow between the two. The network then uses that location, user and device data to optimize how it allocates its resources and reduce overall signaling traffic.


Want to know more about service provider IT tools like this? Check out our dedicated SPIT content channel here on Light Reading.


Ericsson already supplies the LTE Radio Access Network (RAN), Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and small cells to Softbank, as well as powering VoLTE for the operator. Mobility-based policy is still in the demo stages right now, and Ericsson showed it off this month in Tokyo. (See SoftBank Trials Ericsson's Dot Indoors, Softbank Deploys Ericsson for EPC and Softbank Picks Ericsson for 4G & Packet Core.)

Why this matters
Network congestion management, driven by network awareness, is a crucial technology for mobile operators, especially in crowded cities like Tokyo. Right now, their options for doing so are typically centered on expensive probes in the network from the likes of Ericsson and the other major hardware vendors.

Procera Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: PKT) announced a similar software-driven alternative to RAN congestion management last week, but the fact that Ericsson is jumping in suggests more will follow suit as well. It's a technology that operators are asking for, as evidenced by Ericsson's collaboration with Softbank and the fact that Procera is already in trial with a number of operators in Europe and Asia. (See Procera Offers RAN Management Via the SIM.)

Ovum Ltd. analyst Daryl Schoolar points out that while Procera and Ericsson are looking to solve similar problems, Procera is focused on how to get the network data while Ericsson is tackling the real-time decisions that can be made from it. The analyst says that while he's heard other vendors talk about this type of per-user policy-based network control, Softbank is the first operator he's seen put it into action -- but it won't be the last.

"I believe as operators look to fully optimize their networks and create a more consistent user experience we will see more per-user policy-based network solutions," Schoolar says. "Of course this means plenty of mobile operators are going to need to update their PCRF."

Related posts:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/13/2014 | 8:16:40 AM
Working towards congestion relief
I also agree with the fact that Ericsson's solution was to put together the smaller vendors' technology. I also think that Softbank made a very wise step when they involved the Ericsson's in their project towards building a software that dynamically manages network congestion in some of its heavily trafficked markets. This project, which is driven by network awareness, is a great relief to the mobile operators, especially those who reside in some of the world crowded cities like Tokyo.        
Yulot
50%
50%
Yulot,
User Rank: Moderator
8/11/2014 | 4:21:53 PM
Re: vendor wars
Hi Sarah,

I bet that the Ericsson solution is most likely integrating smaller vendor's technology. Where I believe a Procera-like SW only and Gi based solution is limited (Procera is just an example, there are other companies with similar approach, like Sandvine, or other original DPI vendor etc) is it would only show usage and L7 KPIs, which may not be granular enough and be synchronised well enough to actually show the real congestion at cell level. In addition, at application level, you may see problems that are not any longer in Softbank's network, but in the internet; i.e. you may see a congested server, but it does not mean the cell is the limiting factor, even if everyone under that cell approaching that specific application server would feel congestion (Softbank would not be to blame there).

Typically the way a Gi DPI tool work is it would show only L7 and at best half TCP type of analysis (i.e. just the internet part of the protocole, not the other half down to the end-user). SW only solution need to filter lots of information out of their analysis, because they cannot keep up with a heavily loaded traffic you would see in an operator the size of Softbank.

As far as the network goes, the most relevant part of the analysis would come from the other half of the TCP handshake down to the user, but I doubt Procera's solution would show you that on every subs of the network. You would have to do this analysis unfiltered on every single user on the network all the time, with great synchronisation to be able to clearly show cell congestion.

In the specific case of Softbank, I believe Ericsson is a managed service partner, so there is a chance they are acting as the operations and engineering department of Softbank. But I agree with your comment that usually the best solutions in our industry are driven by start ups and there is definitely a common trend at operators to use big OEM or consultancies as political buffers against potential technology delivery blunders.
SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/11/2014 | 2:17:01 PM
vendor wars
I realize that Ericsson and Procera are offering slightly different solutions, but that feels oddly similar to the small cell case in which a smaller guy launches a product then Ericsson announces just a demo of a similar solution. (Am I right, Ronny?!) The operators like the safety of their big vendor partners, but it usually takes the smaller guys to push them in the right direction. 
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Du Puts Its Faith in Huawei's Routers

4|9|15   |   3:42   |   (0) comments


Adnan Masood, director of Enterprise MS Solutions Marketing at du, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, explains why his company chose to use Huawei's multifunctional AR routers as part of its managed enterprise services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Gets Active in the Data Center

4|9|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


With enterprise users looking to maximize the use of their data center assets, Huawei’s Chief Architect & Technical Director of IT Data Center Solutions, Bruce Su, explains how the company's six-layer active-active data center solution is eradicating the need to deploy passive, redundant data center assets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Blue Consult & Huawei for a Better Solution

4|8|15   |   4:01   |   (0) comments


Martin Rott, CEO, and Marc Metzler, head of sales virtualization, from Germany's Blue Consult discuss their collaboration with Huawei and TrendMicro to develop a secure, scalable IT platform that can meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise users.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Beach Petroleum on eLTE & Mining

4|8|15   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


Network systems integrator Jeremy Hamlyn explains how Huawei's secure packet-based trunking communications system, eLTE, can help remote communities and companies in the mining, oil and gas sectors, deploy efficient communications networks that are perfect for video and data as well as voice.
Upcoming Live Events
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network Instruments, a JDSU division, shares results from its 2015 State of the Network, a global survey on security.
Hot Topics
Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/16/2015
Can WiFi Calling Find Its Voice?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/13/2015
Senator Proposes New 'Title X' for Net Neutrality
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/13/2015
Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent in Merger Talks
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/14/2015
Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/15/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Cats with Phones
Steve's Phone Click Here
Steve Saunders's personal phone.