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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Three new white papers on Mobile Broadband Traffic Management

A very quick heads-up, as I'm at the Informa Broadband Traffic Management conference today & for Weds and Thurs. Very busy here - about 250 people or so.

I've just published a series of three white papers on next-gen "holistic" traffic management, along with an introductory paper. These look beyond the simplistic early approaches to DPI, policy, optimisation and offload, many of which have been arbitrary and often user-unfriendly.

The papers have been kindly sponsored by the folks at Continuous Computing, who have given me a completely free rein to write about topics that are interesting, and which hopefully push forward the industry thinking about how better to control & monetise mobile data.

[EDIT - for downloads, please see the links embedded in this page]

In a nutshell, my belief is that any future implementations of mobile broadband traffic management will need to be:

  • Device-aware: not just what brand and model, but over time much more granular detail about OS version, firmware, connection managers, security, power management and the ability to communicate about network status and policy with the user. Increasingly, network vendors and operators will need to link network infrastructure boxes to on-device clients. This also ties in with application awareness - particularly around dealing with mashups, VPNs and so forth.
  • Bearer-aware: the policy infrastructure will need to be much more informed about the status of the radio connections(s) - what technology, femto vs. macro cells, whether Wifi is available and suitable, what is happening with signalling load, whether congestion is actually occurring at a given time/cell and so on.
  • Offload-aware: whether data is being (or should be) routed via WiFi, femtocells, RAN offload and so on - and whether this should be managed or unmanaged. There are many variables here, and many use cases, such as the ability to use multiple networks simultaneously, "selective offload" (SIPTO / LIPA) and so on.
Many regulators seem to be moving towards policies on traffic management & Net Neutrality along the lines of "minimum necessary" or "reasonable" control of traffic by operators. This means that any policy enforcement will need to be proportionate and context-specific. Arguably, there is no justification for unnecessary throttling or compression at quiet times / cells, unless you live on a Pacific island and IP transit is expensive. There is certainly not likely to be justification for much arbitrary discrimination between websites or applications, especially if this is not done with full transparency.

Each of these issues is covered in a separate white paper, plus there is an overview introduction.

[For downloads, please see the links embedded in this page]

This is an area I cover in a lot of depth. If you are interested in an internal workshop, advisory consulting project, or need an external speaker for an event, please get in touch at information AT disruptive-analysis DOT com

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