Light Reading

F5 Gets Into Policy Enforcement

Craig Matsumoto
LR Mobile News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
2/7/2013
50%
50%

F5 Networks Inc. is getting more serious about policy control, seeing it as a way to get more involved with helping mobile operators create new services such as premium access. The BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager (PEM), due to be announced Tuesday, is applicable to any network, but F5 is emphasizing its utility in mobile networks, partly because the company thinks it can tap mobile operators' rising interest in value-added services and in network functions virtualization (NFV). The fact that Mobile World Congress is coming up might be a factor, too, but there's no doubt policy-based services are important to mobile operators. Some customers have been adding policy functions to BIG-IP hardware or software by using iRules, F5's scripting language. But these weren't particularly sophisticated policy applications: They comprise things such as lists of URLs that needed special treatment, says Sean Duggan, an F5 director of product management. So, now, F5 wants to offer more complex policy enforcement as a product, making it an option in the intelligent services framework. That's the general term for F5's combination of services -- including firewalls, domain name services (DNS) and network-address translation (NAT) -- that can be packed onto one platform. It's now also starting to include elements of Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT). PEM is a Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF), putting F5 in competition with Allot Communications Ltd., Sandvine Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. PEM monitors traffic and applies policy accordingly -- making sure a gold-package user gets the promised level of access, for instance. Asked via email whether deep packet inspection (DPI) is involved (a PCEF can involve DPI but doesn't have to), F5 answered indirectly, saying PEM can "identify applications and protocols that are being used in the network," as Product Marketing Manager Misbah Mahmoodi describes it. A PCEF has to work with a Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), and Mahmoodi points out F5 has completed interoperability testing with other vendors' PCRFs. Asked whether F5 might offer its own PCRF eventually, Mahmoodi replies that F5 "will continue to leverage its strong partnerships with PCRF vendors in service provider deployments." So, what would make F5's PCEF any more worthy than those already on the market? F5 says it can offer PEM to its installed base as a software add-on, rather than adding another box to the network. F5 also points out it can augment PEM with the other capabilities the company already provides. One would be the ability to steer traffic, letting operators offer services without having to send all traffic to the requisite network elements. Take the example of video optimization. Early architectures have all the traffic going through, say, a video optimizer, even though maybe 6 to 10 percent of the traffic can actually be helped by the video optimizer. F5's framework could siphon that "6-to-10 percent of the traffic that the video optimization system can add value to," Duggan says. PEM can also tie to network functions virtualization (NFV), because BIG-IP can ask the network to add more processors or memory to a particular task. In other words, it tells an orchestration system to spin up more virtual machines. In its London technology center, F5 is demonstrating that capability in conjunction with Skyfire Inc., and the company expects to bring that demo to Mobile World Congress. In the demo, PEM notices when video traffic increases, and it tells the orchestration system to generate virtual instances of the Skyfire engine, then withdraw them down when usage decreases. For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading
(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Craig Matsumoto
50%
50%
Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/11/2013 | 4:12:45 PM
re: F5 Gets Into Policy Enforcement
Policy is important, but SDN is going to steal the F5 headlines ... looks like they acquired LineRate Systems today.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
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.
Upcoming Live Events
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
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
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 ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment