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.
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
Hosting in Ireland, Past & Present

2|10|16   |   16:07   |   (0) comments


Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
What's Hot in Mobile Commerce?

2|10|16   |   12:18   |   (1) comment


Claire Maslen, financial services relationship manager at the GSMA, talks about the development of the digital commerce sector and the types of relationships that mobile operators are developing to further their m-commerce strategies.
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (0) comments


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
LRTV Custom TV
Quad Channel Modulator Driver with 46 Gbaud Capability from MACOM

1|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's MAOM-003427 is the industry's first surface-mount modulator driver with 46 Gbaud capability to support next generation 200G and 400G applications.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
Cincinnati Bell Joins Weight Watchers Club
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/5/2016
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Animals with Phones
Retro Is the Way to Be Click Here
Some animals are too cute for smartphones.
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.