Who Is Packing a PCRF?

Policy servers are becoming important weapons in the carrier arsenal, but from which companies can these policy servers be sourced?

December 9, 2010

5 Min Read
Who Is Packing a PCRF?

Policy management is indisputably one of the hottest technology topics in the telecom sector today, and one that has been covered by Light Reading on a regular basis, most recently in the Policy Management Briefing Center. (See Policy Charges Into 4G World, Policy Player Ready to Rumble , and Vodafone Flexes Traffic Management Muscle.)

What's perhaps less certain is the role a Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), or policy server, will play in telecom networks in the future. (See Boom Time for Policy.)

Whatever the future role, though, policy servers are being deployed right now, in tandem with deep packet inspection (DPI) platforms, to help operators cope with the growing volumes of data traffic flowing across their networks. (See Allot, Openet Team for Policy Management, Openet Boasts Dutch Deployment, Sandvine Interops With Policy Players, Telefónica Picks Acision for Mobile Policy Control, Cellcom, MetroPCS Pick Bridgewater, Bridgewater, Sandvine Team Up, Tekelec Boasts Policy Control Deals, BroadHop Boasts New Customers, Network Norway Picks Volubill, and Allot, Huawei Interoperate.)

As a result, demand for policy servers is growing in line with the ramp in data traffic volumes, with policy management platforms expected to generate increasing revenues for the vendor community in the coming few years, especially as data-optimized mobile networks based on advanced 3G technologies and Long Term Evolution (LTE) are deployed. (See Procera, BroadHop Interop for LTE, Aptilo Adds LTE Policy Control, CTIA 2010: Camiant Lands LTE Gig at Verizon, MWC Preview: Policy Vendors Strut Their Stuff, and MetroPCS Polices LTE With Bridgewater.)

According to Infonetics Research Inc. , policy server revenues (from deployments in mobile and fixed line networks) are on course to reach US$471 million in 2010, and grow to $1.6 billion by 2014. And not surprisingly, that sort of growth has attracted some M&A action to the policy server market. (See Openet: No M&A Talks Underway, Rumor: Cisco Hunts for LTE Policy Control Smarts, and Tekelec Splashes $165M on SPIT Specialists.)

So for the service providers that want to deploy such Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) platforms, which companies have a PCRF that complies with the specifications set out by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) ? Which companies can they invite to participate in a request for proposal (RFP) process? (See Euro Carrier Issues Policy Control RFP .)

Well, a check of the market shows there are more than 25, including some familiar, and some not so familiar, names. (See Telcordia Crashes Crowded Policy Party, Bridgewater Wins Major Euro Deal, and Elitecore Boasts Policy Control Wins.)

Those 25-plus vendors, listed on the second page of this report, all have PCRF products, but there's also a bunch of companies that are in the policy market and have policy servers, but it's unclear whether they have a PCRF that meets the 3GPP criteria. One such company is Aradial Technologies Ltd. Corp. , which has a Policy Controller product for mobile operators, but its Website provides no claim of PCRF compliance.

Others have what look like all the main attributes of a PCRF but are something slightly different that can work alongside a PCRF, such as the Passport platform from Openwave Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: OPWV)

Then there are vendors such as Ventraq Inc. , with its Patrol Suite platform, which have policy management products that offer some applications but look to be some way short of meeting the 3GPP's PCRF specifications.

But for this report, we decided to identify those vendors that claim to have a PCRF. It's quite possible that our list has missed a few players lurking in the shadows -- if so, please let us know, using the message boards below, so we can update our list to be as comprehensive as possible.

So which companies did we find? Check the next page to find out.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

Next Page: PCRF Vendors

Below is our table of PCRF vendors and links to their products. please remember to get in touch if you know of other companies that have a PCRF in their portfolio.

Table 1: PCRF Vendors and Their Wares

Vendor

PCRF product

724 Solutions Software

Seamless Access Service Control Module

Alcatel-Lucent

5780 Dynamic Services Controller (DSC)

Alepo

Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF)

Aptilo

Service Management Platform (SMP)

BandWD

BwDRC

Bridgewater Systems

Bridgewater Policy Controller

BroadHop

Quantum Policy Server

Camiant

See Tekelec

Cisco Systems

Policy and Charging Control

Comability

ComAbility neXus platform

Comptel

Comptel Policy Control

DigitalRoute

MediationZone

Elitecore

NetVertex

Ericsson

Service-Aware Policy Controller (SAPC)

Flash Networks

Policy Manager

FTS Billing Software Solutions

Leap Policy Control

HP

HP Unified Policy Manager

Huawei Technologies

OCG (Open Control & Charging Gateway)

Intracom Telecom

ActionRuler

Kabira (now part of Tibco)

Kabira Policy Server

Nokia Siemens Networks

PCS5000 (currently no web page found)

Openet

Policy Manager

Orga Systems

NG Control Point

Redknee

Policy Manager

Tango Telecom

iAX Data

Tekelec

Multimedia Policy Engine (MPE) (formerly Camiant MPE)

Telcordia

Bandwidth Manager

Volubill

CONTROL-IT Policy Manager

ZTE

Optimized Operation and Management Solution (OOMS)





— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

Previous Page: Introduction

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