Rather than running canned lab tests, Mu's testing technology recreates apps, or a mix of different apps, in real time to observe exactly how much bandwidth they consume and what that means to the network. Mu makes available thousands of app-specific tests to its TestCloud online community that wireless operators and vendors can tap into to test policies governing the security, scalability and functionality of their apps.
Mu counts AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), Palo Alto Networks Inc. and ICSA Labs among its customers for TestCloud.
Net neutrality guidelines dictate how service providers can set and manage app-specific policies, but Mu CEO Dave Kresse says operators have to treat peer-to-peer apps differently from streaming video, games different from music and so on. The policies they set around these apps are up to the operators, but they have to understand each app's traffic patterns to make those decisions.
"AT&T doesn't have much of a say if Angry Cows comes out," Kresse says. "If [apps] don’t meet criteria, [operators can] apply a policy to the app, but they have to understand what the apps are. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and the mix changes rapidly. They end up being real challenges for the operators."
Why this matters
The deluge of mobile apps caught operators by surprise in the past few years, so now they are doing everything they can to ensure that doesn't happen again. Maintaining good service quality will be vital for operators to maintain customers, especially as they move to Long Term Evolution (LTE) with the promise of faster speeds and more bandwidth for apps and services. (See LTE's Promise Depends on Network Testing.)
"Eighty percent of traffic is apps," Kresse says. "It's not just a question of bigger pipes."
By incorporating app awareness either into their equipment, as Juniper is, or directly into the network, operators can get more granular control of the traffic and can classify apps for deep packet inspection, lawful intercept, traffic shaping and prioritization.
Mu has been building a name for itself, testing 3G and 4G networks for functionality, resiliency and scalability. Check out the following articles to see which networks pass muster and which still need work.
- NTT Goes Mu for Testing
- Mu Dynamics Plays Up Cyber Security, IPv6
- Mu Makes Breakthrough at Chunghwa
- Mu Chief: Smart Grid Isn't
- Mu Dynamics Evolves Testing for Real-World IP
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile