Considerations for Traffic Classification
Accurate traffic identification and insightful measurements form the foundation of network business intelligence and network policy control. Without identifying and measuring the traffic flowing on their networks, CSPs are unable to craft new subscriber services, optimize shared resource utilization, and ensure correct billing and charging.
First and foremost, CSPs must understand their use cases, as these determine tolerance for accuracy. It is likely less of a problem if reports show information that is wrong by a small margin, but it can be catastrophic if subscriber billing/charging is incorrect or management policies are applied to the wrong traffic.
Many techniques exist to identify traffic and extract additional information or measure quantities, ranging from relatively simple to extremely complex; in general, advanced techniques that can provide the most comprehensive information and actionable utility are processor-intensive and are therefore only available on best-of-breed deep packet inspection (DPI) and policy control platforms. So-called embedded solutions typically make do with simplistic approaches that are prone to service- and revenue-impacting errors.
Faced with such variation, CSPs must understand the technologies, trade-offs (e.g., completeness and false positives), and deployment challenges (e.g., routing asymmetry, tunnels and encapsulation, encryption and obfuscation) that exist in the context of traffic classification, and only with this detailed understanding can they ask the right questions in order to truly understand what a vendor is providing, and any limitations that would otherwise be hidden.
Sandvine Traffic Classification
To ensure the industry’s highest accuracy, largest breadth of completeness, and most comprehensive measurements, Sandvine makes the industry’s highest investment in traffic identification.
Additionally, our policy control platform delivers fundamental functionality that is required in order to recognize traffic in modern high capacity data networks: specifically, our platform overcomes routing asymmetry, delivers stateful awareness across multiple sessions, and inspects within tunneled and encapsulated traffic.
Furthermore, the flexibility and versatility of Sandvine’s policy definition language, SandScript, enables identification and measurements even when encryption and obfuscation measures are in place.