Light Reading

Cisco Adds Policy Smarts With BroadHop Buy

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) continued its buying spree Tuesday as it announced plans to acquire policy management specialist BroadHop Inc. .

Cisco said that BroadHop's policy control products would be integrated into its Service Provider Mobility Group and that the BroadHop team would join Cisco's Service Provider Networking Group and report to Shailesh Shukla, vice president and general manager the Software and Applications Group.

BroadHop -- a 2012 Leading Lights finalist for private company of the year -- has been a Cisco partner for several years, particularly in the area of service provider Wi-Fi. According to Cisco's statement issued today, "This acquisition reinforces Cisco's commitment to service providers by enabling policy control and service management across mobile, fixed and wireless broadband networks and adds value by driving the mobility network architecture to the next level." (See BroadHop PCRF Works With Cisco.)

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Why this matters
Buying BroadHop shows how significant it is for Cisco to have its own policy management offering. The move also suggests that Cisco's own efforts to develop a policy control product did not pan out.

"[Cisco] certainly needed it," says Heavy Reading Chief Analyst Graham Finnie. "It's too important to them not to move that capability in house."

According to Finnie, Cisco did try to build some capability in house that was supposed to be part of the Starent platform. But they could not get enough customers for it. So instead, Cisco has worked through partnerships with the likes of BroadHop and Openet Telecom Ltd.

Now, with BroadHop's Quantum Network Suite on board, Cisco will have a Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) and "all the usual policy capabilities with a very up-to-date product," according to Finnie. Those capabilities include traffic management, service tier management and application differentiation.

For more

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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