Light Reading
Companies team up to demo Mobile-based Policy software to dynamically manage network congestion in busy areas.

Softbank Asks Ericsson for Congestion Relief

Sarah Reedy
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
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive