Tekelec (Morrisville, NC, USA) is converging its suite of network intelligence and policy control solutions into a system known as RAN-aware policy management. The solution draws intelligence and technology from existing Tekelec offerings such as its proprietary Performance Intelligence Center (Version 7.0 launched in November 2010), the SDM suite (acquired from Blueslice Networks in May 2010) and the Camiant Policy Management PCRF (acquired in May 2010).
The boom in mobile broadband, combined with increasingly well-equipped smart devices, dongles, and air cards has led to consumption of mobile bandwidth at an unprecedented pace. In the first half of 2010 alone, the average US mobile subscriber consumed 50% more data than during the previous six month period.
The technology behind Radio Access Networks (RAN), and their delivery architectures, hasn't kept pace with this growth in usage. In addition, techniques used by handset manufacturers, such as conserving battery life, as well as ‘chatty’ Internet-based applications looking for regular updates, are significantly impacting the resources in the RAN. As a result, a single smartphone can generate eight times the network signaling load of a USB modem-equipped laptop.
According to Tekelec's latest whitepaper, "operators face two fundamental sources of congestion. The first is being created by user and application data. The second source, the magnitude of which has been largely unexpected, is signaling and control-plane information in the RAN. The dramatic rise in signaling congestion is largely attributable to the increasing usage of smartphones."
Although policy control alone is nothing new, Tekelec's RAN-aware policy management approach specializes in maintaining optimal customer quality of experience (QoE) while enforcing sound policy. To achieve this, Tekelec combines both real-time and historical customer usage data, and applies that information to inform the policy-decision process.
The depth of this awareness leads to many policy enforcement options. On one hand, the system has the ability to immediately manage heavy data users (in real time) to improve call and data service efficiency. Or it may factor in more granular information for optimizing the customer experience, such as with video content in a congested cell or guaranteeing visiting roamers quality of service during peak hours at the airport . Other strategies include managing heavy data-consuming applications to guarantee fair usage and quality of experience to all subscribers in a given area.
The system feeds back on itself in real time, continually examining and adjusting network resource allocation to dynamically adapt to the unpredictable demands of the network.
Tekelec is collaborating with several major wireless operators to test and deliver the fully integrated RAN-aware policy management solution in 2011.