Policy Traffic Switch (PTS)

Data Plane Intelligence for Network Policy Control

Achieve your policy control goals with the world’s most powerful, scalable, and efficient Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF) and Traffic Detection Function (TDF).

The Policy Traffic Switch (PTS) embeds the Sandvine Policy Engine in the data plane of any network, be it physical or virtual, with any combination of access technologies, and scales higher with better performance efficiency than any other PCEF/TDF solution.

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PTS Deployment Characteristics

PCEF and TDF Specifications for Policy and Charging Control

The Policy Traffic Switch complies with PCEF and TDF standards, for rapid deployment, straightforward integration, and predictable behavior.

The 3GPP standards and interfaces specifications are important guidelines that ensure efficiency across the industry, ease multi-vendor interoperability, and contribute to predictable costs and deployment timelines. Within the 3GPP framework, the Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF) and Traffic Detection Function (TDF) fulfill several functions, including:

Traffic Detection

Identification and measurement of Internet data traffic, including over-the-top (OTT) services.

Policy Enforcement

Applying direct and indirect management policies to ensure optimal traffic flow.

Charging Enforcement

Ensuring billing and charging is applied correctly by reporting usage to online and offline charging systems.


Sd component complies with 3GPP Release 12 (Rel. 12 TS 29.212) standard, to support advanced use cases:

  • Accepts Diameter Sd messages from the PCRF (Solicited Application Reporting)
  • Application awareness and notifications
  • Differentiated charging powered by the Gyn interface

Importantly, the Sd interface between the Policy Traffic Switch is direct, to maximize reporting and charging accuracy, reliability, and scalability.

Gy component complies with 3GPP Release 10 (TS 32.399 V10.10.0) standard; Termination Action complies with 3GPP Release 11 (TS 32.299) standard. Sandvine’s Gy implementation is:

  • Direct: The PTS and the OCS are connected directly (i.e., no intermediary function or element)
  • Real-Time: Charging is processed in real-time, with no delays

Deploy in any IP network (e.g., DOCSIS Cable, Fiber, DSL, WiFi, WiMAX, Satellite, 3G, LTE, etc.), whether physical or virtualized.

The Policy Traffic Switch is capable of starting the Gy(n) session with the OCS even when the PCRF or the Sd interface is unavailable, by leveraging other sources for subscriber awareness (e.g., GTP-C signaling, RADIUS, or the SPR). This feature makes charging resilient to PCRF, Gx, SPR, and Sd interface failures.

Market-leading signaling efficiency reduces signaling costs on Gx and Sd interfaces at the PCRF and PGW.

Enables service function chaining via Sandvine’s patented divert technology (e.g., divert, late divert and multi-divert) in both IPv4 and IPv6 environments.

Enables operators to initiate a Gx interface trigger towards the network’s PCRF, to notify the PCRF about changes that aren’t signaled directly from the core network components over RADIUS or GTP-C (e.g., subscriber location changes, OCS operational changes, etc.).

With this feature, it’s possible to define any vendor-specific trigger value and send it towards the PCRF. For instance:

  • Notify the PCRF about congestion events or QoE degradation
  • Notify the PCRF that the user is accessing a URL from a sponsored website

Remote configuration and monitoring is possible via:

  • REST API client
  • SNMPv2 (RFCs 1905, 2578, 4318) and SNMP v3 (RFCs 3411-3418)
  • TACACS+ (RFC 1492)
  • NTP (RFC 1305)

The Sandvine Policy Engine

The Sandvine Policy Engine is the brain of our platform, and is the foundation of all of our policy control solutions. It lets you realize your business objectives by linking any set of conditions to any set of actions, in real-time. Information about measured conditions and provisioned subscriber entitlements flows into the Policy Engine, and charging updates, management actions, and business intelligence data emerge.

Within the data plane, the Policy Traffic Switch provides the physical and logical interfaces that the Sandvine Policy Engine needs to take in information and output/enforce actions—from the physical interfaces through which data traffic enters the traffic classification subsystem, to the Diameter interfaces out of which real-time charging updates stream.

Learn more about the Sandvine Policy Engine >

Physical PTS Deployment

PTS 22000 Series

Cost-effective policy control for edge deployments.

PTS 32000 Series

High performance policy control for 100GE.

Virtual PTS Deployment

PTS Virtual Series

Flexible, elastically scalable policy control.

Accurate, Real-Time Traffic Classification

To identify traffic, Sandvine uses a range of techniques, including: signatures, trackers, analyzers, and heuristics (e.g., machine learning). Sandvine’s traffic identification is achieved without false-positive prone port-based dependencies or ‘suspected’ catch-all categories.

Beyond simply identifying traffic, these techniques provide deeper insight into traffic attributes, including device model, operating system, browser, codecs, content provider, stream type, etc., and distinguish between client devices and access devices (e.g., to determine if a device is tethered)—even behind a home router.

Learn more about Sandvine's Traffic Classification technology >

“We have incorporated Sandvine’s virtual PTS platform into our Total Traffic Manager (TTM) solution, so our regional carriers will have access to the most advanced Policy Control services in the Cloud with minimum capital expense. Rolling new services to increase ARPU and managing the rapid growth in data traffic just got easier.”

- Dean Fresonke, Senior VP of Business Development, ClearSky

Policy Traffic Switch Clusters

Clustering—that is, connecting many PTS units together to work as one—works by combining the intersection and processing capacity of many units and ensuring that all packets associated with a flow, session, and subscriber are always processed by the same processor core, regardless of the physical interface through which they enter the cluster. This characteristic, called processor core affinity, is absent from many alternatives and is a major reason why the Policy Traffic Switch can do things that other solutions can’t.

Learn more about PTS Clustering >

Policy Traffic Switch: Overview

Achieve your policy control goals with the world’s most powerful, scalable, and efficient Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF) and Traffic Detection Function (TDF).

Download this brochure for more information and technical specifications for the Policy Traffic Switch.

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UPDATED : 2017-04-08 13:52:28