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Friday, February 13, 2009

DPI and MVNOs - a question

A quick question for any blog readers who work in the area of deep packet inspection for mobile - is it possible to apply different policies to an MVNO's data traffic, vs. the host MNO's retail services? Also, are roamers subject to their home or visited network's policies?


Andy Harrison said...


Most DPI is done at the GGSN in the home network. When roaming you are still anchored in your home network although 3GPP is working on standardising a policy architecture for enforcement in the visited network with the R8Evolved Packet Core that will be used for LTE.

These days most of the industry has moved away from adjunct DPI boxes towards integrated 'service aware' GGSNs although you can still use an adjunct box on the 'Gi' interface as was popular in the early days of GPRS.

In terms of MVNO/MNO it rather depends on the MVNO setup. If the MVNO owns the GGSN then obviously the MVNO is in control but this is not normally the case. If the MNO owns the GGSN then it depends on the flexibility of the GGSN as to whether DPI and more importantly policy enforcement rules can be subscriber specific or are less flexibly tied to the GGSN node or a particluer APN.

If you want to know more come and see me at the Nortel booth next week. We also have a Telco2.0 demo that you might find interesting.

Andy Harrison


Anonymous said...

Yes, it is possible to perform DPI on an APN basis, if DPI is performed by the GGSN.

The MVNO is assigned a specific APN by the Mobile Network Operator (the owner of the GGSN infrastructure). DPI policies are then set in the GGSN for the MVNO.

Roamers are typically subject to home network policies (from a GGSN perspective) but are subject to last-mile (read RAN) policies and mobility (read SGSN) policies of the visited network.

Dean Bubley said...

Many thanks for these comments, extremely useful. Andy, I'll try to drop past the stand some time this week.

Sometimes MVNOs (and other wholesale-using players) get left out of consideration from a network point of view.

Given the probable future importance of new types of wholesale business model in mobile, it seems to me that much greater emphasis should be placed on capabilities like this.

Please note that there is another comment on this syndicated site: http://www.convergenceconversation.com/posts/dean.bubley/dpi-and-mvnos---a-question