For 15 years, Procera has had the most scalable and sophisticated traffic management mechanism in the world in its PacketLogic solution. It is truly a work of art. We researched and developed algorithms for Advance Queue Management (AQM) and we built systems where millions of subscribers can have their own queue, or several queues, with several priorities for applications. We do WFQ (Weighted Fair Queuing), FairSplit, FairFactor, short quotas, long quotas, DSCP (Differentiated Services Code Point) rewriting, etc, etc. PacketLogic provides the tools to enhance the subscribers’ experience, and moves beyond analytics into taking action where it’s needed in the network.
Managing traffic actively using the PacketLogic way would improve the Quality of Experience (QoE) for the subscriber, as well as help the operator control cost. Network traffic is growing by 100+% every year, most of that growth fueled by video consumption. Keeping up with the growing need for network capex investments is difficult and operators constantly seek information on what investments are needed to maximize the experience for the majority of their subscribers. Without traffic management, the only way to improve subscriber experience is by adding more bandwidth. If bandwidth isn’t added, then Quality of Experience eventually drops. This has led some to think that traffic management is a “clunky band aid” for operators who cannot afford to upgrade their network. However that’s not the case!
Operators have to keep 3 things in mind:
- It is the top 10% of your subscribers that are pushing you to increase bandwidth
- When upgrades are not planned ahead of time and the link utilization reaches 70% or so, it’s hard to “just add bandwidth". As traffic keeps increasing the subscribers on those links really suffer from network congestion
- Parts of the network can be constrained by limiting factors that make it a scarce resource. For example, if the Radio Access Network is congested, simply adding more bandwidth will not improve Subscriber QoE.
Traffic management is not as commonly deployed by operators as one might think. Sure, some operators dabble with throttling P2P or shaping or transcoding video, re-encoding images, and playing various “Fair Usage” quota games. But most of those attempts have minimal affect in the grand scheme of things. Effective traffic management comes when you can run your links at 100% utilization, for long periods of time while still making sure that the top consumers can’t cannibalize the bandwidth in a way that makes the average user suffer. It’s really that simple. Take for example what happens in a country when Netflix enters a market – traffic goes up 25% in a single week – and never goes back down!
Of course, once the demand of the normal subscriber exceeds what the link can handle, then you should upgrade. But that curve is not 100% growth year over year. If networks are getting 2 Mbps at peak time per sub or 20 Mbps at peak time per sub, then another 25% on top of that next year is probably fine. That growth is more or less up to you to decide depending on market conditions. However, most operators do not do this as they struggle to the return on investment for their subscriber experience.
Procera’s ScoreCard changes that. With Scorecard, operators look at the experience of each subscriber on the network, for the most commonly used application types. If your network average is a C, and C is a level of experience that you are happy with (a score of a C would represent a decent fixed network or a really really good mobile network), then as long as you can keep that network average of C, and keep your links at C, then you know you’re doing the right thing to make your subscribers happy.
However, if a link becomes congested, that network score will drop. With congestion, either latency (congestion in the Radio Access Network, resulting in increase of the overall transaction time, causing delay) or loss (the fixed backhaul segments being congested and the source not receiving an acknowledgment because of that. This packet will be retransmitted, resulting in a loss-count increase), will be the first thing to show. Throughput will still be relatively untouched, so it won’t show up on Speedtests or Video throughput based metrics until the congestion becomes really bad. But that latency, loss or both will hurt your web browsing experience, OTT voice, social apps and gaming quite a bit for your subscribers and that will bring down the score immediately.
Deploy traffic management the right way and you will take some of the bandwidth from your heavy users, most likely the peak of their downloading throughput, and give it to the low volume users. And your score will be basically back to what it was before. That may very well mean that during peak hour, not all of your heavy subscribers will be able to watch 8K video, or that their steam downloads will take a minute extra. But that is a price most operators should want to pay to have an overall happy subscriber base.
Alternatively operators could choose to make sure to upgrade every single link before it gets fully utilized. That works too. The score will hardly be noticeably better, but your wallet will be noticeably flatter.
With the introduction of Procera’s ScoreCard, operators get the insights they need for better traffic management. Operators using ScoreCard have the intelligence they need to build more robust, resilient, easier to operate network, with a better service and support for their subscribers.
We are extremely excited about how ScoreCard will benefit consumers and operators alike. For more information on ScoreCard or to see a demo, please visit: Procera Networks Defines Broadband Subscriber Experience with Scorecard or watch a ScoreCard introduction video by clicking the button below.