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Policy + charging

Component Vendors Hit Policy Target

New processors, enhanced software and high-capacity platforms are the key ingredients in a new breed of policy management system that is a critical element in any new mobile or fixed access network infrastructure. By deploying these systems, network operators can implement more sophisticated data plans, reduce network congestion and improve profitability.

Application-aware policy management systems use deep packet inspection (DPI) to identify applications that are associated with individual users. These systems can then manage traffic flow based on network congestion, user profile and application, giving priority to premium users on the highest tariffs. Policy management is embedded in the wireless network architecture with the 3GPP Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) and the 3GPP Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF). The PCRF and PCEF must work closely with the other components of the wireless network infrastructure that are supplied by leading telecom equipment manufacturers.

DPI requires high-performance packet processing and fast access to signatures. Until recently, it was handled by dedicated hardware or only performed on a small percentage of packets. DPI for policy management is now largely implemented on multicore processors. These devices have high-bandwidth interfaces and access to large DDR3 memories. By using the right platforms, multicore processors and policy software vendors have developed carrier-grade systems that will implement policy management across fixed and mobile networks.

At this critical time, the latest issue of Heavy Reading Components Insider, "DPI Vendors Deliver on Policy Management," analyzes the leading DPI and policy management system vendors, the components they are using, DPI and multicore processor vendors, and DPI and policy management software vendors. The report profiles 21 vendors in this important market, including a review of component architectures, identifying the key features and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers.

Several companies are supplying policy management systems with high-performance DPI, classification and policy enforcement software. Allot Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALLT) and Procera Networks are shipping policy enforcement systems based on ATCA platforms. These systems use a mix of x86 multicore processors and network processors or MIPS-based multicore processors. Bivio Networks Inc. and Sandvine Inc. have policy systems based on proprietary platforms. These systems integrate a mix of PowerPC-, MIPS- and/or x86-based multicore processors. ipoque GmbH has systems based on proprietary or IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) BladeCenter platforms.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is the leading supplier of x86 multicore processors and grown market share for policy management systems with new support for data plane software development and new chipsets supporting high-speed interfaces. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) is also supplying x86 multicore processors with up to 16 processor cores. Cavium Inc. (Nasdaq: CAVM) and Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), which recently acquired NetLogic Inc. , have a growing range of high-performance multicore processors integrating up to 48 MIPS cores and many packet-processing hardware acceleration engines. PowerPC-based multicore processors are available from Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and LSI Corp. (NYSE: LSI). EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH), Netronome and Tilera Corp. have network processors with many packet-processing engines and high-speed interfaces.

Software is a critical component of any policy management solution. BroadHop Inc. , Qosmos , Sensory Networks Inc. and Volubill supply policy management software that can be ported to a range of multicore processor architectures including x86, MIPS and PowerPC. 6WIND and Vineyard Networks provide protocol stacks and software development kits that help system manufacturers develop policy management solutions.

Fixed-line and wireless networks are delivering greater bandwidths and becoming more congested. Policy management systems that are built on scalable platforms are now a critical part of any new network deployment. By using DPI software and expertise from specialist policy management vendors and the right mix of multicore processors and hardware platform companies can deliver market-leading policy enforcement solutions that will work with new and existing network infrastructure.

— Simon Stanley, Analyst, Heavy Reading Components Insider






This report, DPI Vendors Deliver on Policy Management, is available for $1,595. For more information, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/commchip.

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