Sandvine and Heavy Reading: Software-Defined Networks Must Be Subscriber Aware Through Policy
Waterloo, ON; May 21, 2013 –Sandvine, (TSX:SVC) a leading provider of intelligent broadband network solutions for fixed and mobile operators, and Heavy Reading, an independent research organization offering deep analysis of emerging telecom trends, together released a whitepaper entitled “Policy Control & SDN: A Perfect Match?”. The whitepaper addresses potential strategies and opportunities for operators to integrate network policy control into nascent Software-Defined Networks (SDN) architectures.
In SDNs, packet forwarding is separated from control functions, and the latter are provided via a “Controller” function that tells simple packet forwarding devices how to direct flows using a protocol such as the ONF’s OpenFlow. A key objective of SDN is to facilitate and exploit the virtualization of network functions and applications so that they can be provided from the Cloud—that is, from generic servers typically housed in data centers, and capable of being (re)-assigned on-demand to any function. On the face of it, there is an obvious case for a network policy control function like the PCRF to be the principal means by which SDN Controllers decide how to set up and manage flows.
The primary thesis of the whitepaper explores the necessity for subscriber awareness including individual subscriber preferences, profile and state, between the control plane and data plane to ensure that operators can continue to honor service guarantees to users. By focusing on the subscriber, operators can ensure that their core business objectives, including higher ARPU and lower churn, are best preserved.
“Policy controllers and the SDN controllers could be highly synergistic; acting as the brains of the system, the policy controller tells the SDN controller how to route a specific flow, working closely with other elements in the service chain such as DPI, video optimization and firewalls,” said Graham Finnie, Chief Analyst and whitepaper author, Heavy Reading. “Policy control in its broad sense, including elements such as subscriber profile repositories, policy enforcement systems, analytics tools and network probes can all help to make SDN controller decisions ‘subscriber-aware’.”
“SDN provides an ideal way to direct data flows in the network, but some technical details will need to be worked out,” said Don Bowman, Chief Technology Officer, Sandvine. “An operator has to carefully assess the access, distribution and core network paths to ensure that traffic asymmetry and multi-path routing are handled intelligently. Traffic needs to be steered in and out of the network functions cloud with full subscriber, state and resource capacity awareness. To provide a consistent level of service to subscribers on a per-session basis requires session-aware load balancing, or partitioning, across resources with different throughput capabilities. Sandvine will be able to help address these challenges.”
For more information on Sandvine’s SDN strategy or to participate in a Rockin’ Roamer service plan demo that shows how easy it is to design and deploy subscriber-centric services with Sandvine’s ServiceDesigner visit us at CTIA, May 21-23 in booth 4720 or www.sandvine.com.
Sandvine’s network policy control solutions add intelligence to fixed, mobile and converged communications service provider networks to enable services that can increase revenue and reduce network costs. Powered by Sandvine’s Policy Engine and SandScript policy language, Sandvine’s networking equipment performs end-to-end policy control functions including traffic classification, and policy decision and enforcement across the data, control and business planes. Sandvine’s products provide actionable business insight, the ability to deploy new subscriber services and tools to optimize traffic while enhancing subscriber Internet quality of experience.
Sandvine’s network policy control solutions are deployed in more than 200 networks in over 85 countries, serving hundreds of millions of data subscribers worldwide, www.sandvine.com
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