2020 marks a lot of things for a lot of people – new year, new decade – but at Sandvine, it marks the 10th year of the Global Internet Phenomena Report. Since its inception, the report has established Sandvine as the ultimate authority of internet traffic trends. These trends drive network operators’ strategies for delivering and monetizing their network investments, so we take them very seriously.
Publishing the latest stats on the who’s who in the OTT world, like the Oscars or Grammys, is all well and good – in fact, many people look forward to reading up on the latest trends every year – but I think we haven’t realized its full potential.
Last year’s report indicated the beginning of a new internet era: OTT 2.0. This seismic shift is transforming three key areas: video, gaming, and social sharing, all of which have an impact on global traffic patterns. Market factors such as video streaming fragmentation, the introduction of cloud gaming, and the increasing reliance on upstream for all social applications gave us a new lens on an old problem.
Simply put, there will never be enough capacity for operators to satisfy the quality of experience needs of highly connected consumers and remain profitable.
So, what? Well, the answer is three-fold.
Phenomena areas are driving our solutions as we complete our transition from a previously engineering or product-centric company to one that is focused on the market. Therefore, you can expect to see a new end-to-end solution approach, where we have bundled and launched complementary use cases together in a way that solves one of these Phenomena areas: Video, Gaming, and Social Sharing.
More than that, we’re trying to build for the networks with huge scale – think 100 million subscribers and beyond. Yep, that is a really big number, but what does that even mean for Sandvine (and our customers)? Well, for starters, it means we saw a big need, and we are addressing it by launching the first hyperscale data plane for telco networks. ActiveLogic, Sandvine’s final piece in our Active Network Intelligence portfolio, is designed to scale horizontally for performance as well as vertically for use cases to rise to meet the challenge of the cloud networks being designed and implemented today.
More importantly, it helps operators on their journey to cloud by not making the performance difference between purpose-built hardware and cloud deployments, which are notorious for driving up the TCO, because you need three times the servers to satisfy the capacity delivered by one box, affecting network design. Many of the reports on early cloud deployments detail the increased cost due to needing more hardware than current purpose-built deployments – but efficient software is what we have been focusing on for years based on Intel technology.
Performance aside, part of making lemonade out of these Phenomena areas comes down to application visibility and classification, which is pretty hard to do when the internet is going dark under the reign of encryption. So we decided to bake some machine learning into ActiveLogic and called it the ANI Classification Engine or ACE (if acronyms are your thing). ACE sheds a light in the dark on applications – which is really what drives networks – by leveraging a variety of machine learning techniques. For example, streaming video previously had unencrypted metadata that detailed key things such as resolution, which is critical for video streaming management techniques, but all that is gone with encryption – however not for ACE.
ACE enables operators to understand QoE for critical applications by leveraging a constant cycle of machine learning on how video performs on different access types and devices to deliver new KPIs, like streaming health, that are unique to Sandvine.
As 2020 brings challenges such as encryption, changes to video, gaming, social sharing, and the ever-increasing pressure of running a network, let Sandvine help you thrive in the OTT 2.0 era.