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Packet inspection/traffic management

AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential

The IP team at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) plans to develop its own deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities that can be integrated into the vendor's edge routers, according to Basil Alwan, president of the vendor's IP business.

Alwan, who has just been handed additional responsibilities following a revamp of AlcaLu's Carrier Business Group, told Light Reading "there's good reason to invest" in DPI capabilities. "Investing in [DPI] makes a lot of sense and is part of our roadmap. We are going to do a lot with that technology," though nothing has yet been officially announced, he added. (See AlcaLu Expands Alwan's Role.)

AlcaLu currently has a number of partnerships to cover any current carrier customer requirements for DPI capabilities, including relationships with CloudShield Technologies Inc. and Sandvine Inc. . With these partners, AlcaLu can meet the needs of service providers that want to identify P2P traffic on their networks and offer security-based managed services. (See AlcaLu, Cloudshield Partner and BB Forum: Gateway Goals for Carriers.)

But the giant vendor is to develop its own capabilities as carriers begin to use DPI capabilities to implement more complex service management and service delivery strategies.

"Going forward, being able to bill based on applications and services is going to be very important for carriers," said Alwan. "Over time there are likely to be business models that rely on the differentiated treatment of services. There's a limited amount of that now… but we see demand for that in the future."

Alwan sees DPI as an important part of AlcaLu's network architecture propositions -- the Triple Play Service Delivery Architecture (TPSDA) for fixed-line access and the Mobile Evolution Transport Architecture (META) for wireless networks. (See AlcaLu Targets Wireless Backhaul and AlcaLu Goes to BBWF.)

"We're looking at it from a carriers' point of view. We're going to the table with a network proposition, with TPSDA and META, not a product proposition," states Alwan.

Alwan's statements come as major carriers have begun to acknowledge the growing importance of DPI, and as some of the DPI sector's specialists note a marked uptick in their quarterly revenues. (See IP Traffic Smarts Hit Berlin.)

Recent financials from Sandvine and bullish statements from Ellacoya Networks Inc. suggest an increase in the levels of carrier capex being spent on DPI gear, with only Allot Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALLT) currently bucking that growth trend. (See Allot Shares Sink on Forecast, Allot's All Alone in Forecast, and Sandvine Posts Earnings.)

That growth trend is backed up by the findings from a new Light Reading Insider report, Deep Packet Inspection: Vendors Tap Into New Markets. (See The Greening of DPI.)

In that report, analyst Simon Sherrington notes that spending on DPI equipment has risen significantly during the past year: "Investment in DPI is a global phenomenon, and demand for DPI capability will grow as carriers upgrade their networks and as customers continue to use more and more bandwidth-hogging applications," such as Web-based video services. "Consequently, the market for DPI technology and DPI-based applications is expected to grow substantially over the next few years."

The analyst's report also shows that one of AlcaLu's chief rivals has a significant headstart in the DPI market.

While the sector has, until now, been populated by specialists such as Allot, Cloudshield, Ellacoya, Sandvine, and Procera Networks , Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is the major exception, having bought its way into the DPI market in 2004 with the acquisition of P-Cube. (See Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M.)

While other major equipment vendors are waking up to the potential of DPI, Cisco has already integrated its DPI technology (Service Control Engine) into its routers, and now claims to have 400 service provider customers for its packet inspection equipment worldwide. Sherrington notes that Cisco claims its DPI-related business grew more than 30 percent sequentially in the third quarter of this year.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 2:58:36 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential While Google's "don't do evil" motto may be pretentious, AlcaLu is living up to the way of life its Lucent/WeCo Bell System forbears were famous for. Be As Evil As You Can Get Away With.

DPI is, of course, the absolute antithesis of the end-to-end Internet model. It is precisely what "network neutrality" is opposed to, and entirely the value-sucking monstrosity that destroys the Internet ecosystem. So why should little snits like Bytemobile and Sandvine have all the fun? Sure, it's a sideline for Cisco too, and Lucent and Cisco have always tried to parody each other. (Cisco's telephony doesn't come close to Lucent's in reliability; Lucent never got IP). Maybe if we're lucky this is one area where they can both fail.
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 2:58:35 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential Help me out here:

DPI meets encryption. Why does DPI ever win?

It seems to me that DPI would just push P2P faster towards encrypting traffic.
rodolg 12/5/2012 | 2:58:35 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential Cisco, Huawei and Redback have already integrated DPI Capabilities in their Edge Routers.
Cisco in its 7600 Series, Huawei in its God box called ME60 and Redback in SmartEdge 1200 . So Alcalu is late for this, but this will get the market more interesting, considering that Alcalu has gain a lot of market share in the Edge Router Market.

According to my investigation Huawei was the first to deploy this idea, then came Cisco followed by Redback.. and now Alcalu.. it seems that this will put more pressure in the DPI Vendors such as Sandvine and Ellacoya... lets see

delphi 12/5/2012 | 2:58:35 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential DPI is an idea that has been around for years and has never proven to be either useful or implementable. DPI is the far end of policy based bandwidth allocation and routing. DPI only hangs on because current routing, switching, and optical transport solutions from companies such as Alcatel are so bad. The main driver for DPI is "we cannot handle nor predict consumer services such as peer to peer so lets inspect and inhibit anything we cannot monetize". DPI will only further hamper the development of new consumer services as well as add more delay across the network. The road is littered with the wrecks of DPI companies. Alcatel is already close to being there so this should help complete their death spiral.
yarn 12/5/2012 | 2:58:34 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential Delphi,

I would expect an oracle such as yourself to predict the future, rather than the past..
bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 2:58:34 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential DPI is a clear method to "block" and "charge" for different services and content on the web. The services providers desire this technique so they can counter act the effect of google.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 2:58:33 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential Thanks for the heads-up; we'll get those corrected.
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 2:58:33 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential Stevery - Wasn't indicating your post, actually. I was talking about some others .. and, really, the general vitriol that comes out against DPI. It's fascinating how much a technology can be villanized.

Encryption does get past DPI, I'd reckon. Does that stop your service provider from throttling down your bandwidth, though? I'd think they'd look at any bandwidth-hogging user as a problem, whatever they're doing...

Anyway, my point was that DPI has uses beyond the Net Neutrality debate. Most of the original pitches, in the P-Cube days, had more to do with prioritizing video, IIRC.

As for your rephrased Alcatel question -- OK, good point. :)
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 2:58:33 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential Can't speak for the others, but

1) All DPI is being applied to public usage of the Internet, and 2) DPI is used solely for blocking P2P and is therefore evil. Neither one's right.

I didn't mean to imply either.

I just don't see how DPI does bupkus against encrypted traffic. Please explain how inspection can tell anything about an encrypted packet.

do you think ALU would bother with DPI if it was proven to be so ineffective, as one poster claimed?

Let me rephrase your question to make the answer simpler: Does anyone think ALU has enough corporate stupidity to make investments into useless technology?

Yes.
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 2:58:33 PM
re: AlcaLu Identifies Deep Packet Potential Very amusing to see the assumptions that 1) All DPI is being applied to public usage of the Internet, and 2) DPI is used solely for blocking P2P and is therefore evil. Neither one's right.

Given how late it is, as someone correctly noted, do you think ALU would bother with DPI if it was proven to be so ineffective, as one poster claimed?

As the story mentions, Simon Sherrington thinks DPI is doing quite well. Reiterating the link that's in the story:
http://www.lightreading.com/do...
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