Packet Pressure: Next-gen applications raise benchmark for network capacity

Service Providers want Average Revenue per User to grow, while systems migration to 40G proceeds smoothly.

Pointing out that packets per second, not bits per second, is the relevant benchmark, Venkataraman highlights in this special advertising section a number of 40G applications, including Deep Packet Inspection and Mobile Media Adaptation, for which Radisys has readied its ATCA 4.0 platform.

The convergence of telecom and IP networking has forced mobile service providers to evaluate new investments in 40G capable networks. In fact, it is hard to overestimate future mobile data demand. We’re seeing more and more laptops and a growing number of next-generation handsets primed for high-speed, high-quality video. For example, today a single high-end phone, such as an iPhone or Blackberry, generates more data traffic than 30 basic-feature cell phones.

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With this growth explosion, the benchmark for network capacity and usage is no longer bits per second but packets per second. And the larger the packets (as in the case of video), the more the processing demands shoot up. Bandwidth-hungry services growth is driving the need for new technologies and platforms. Applications that are in-line with this exploding data-video traffic must support much higher densities per subscriber, forcing 40G or higher throughput and processing power requirement per AdvancedTCA system. Some examples of 40G applications include Long Term Evolution (LTE) Evolved Packet Core (EPC), Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and Mobile Media Adaptation (MMA).

A network infrastructure upgrade to LTE promises higher data speeds, but also includes an evolution of core mobile networks from circuit-switched to packet-switched technologies. In this environment, the mobile network is an all IP network that includes a retooling of core elements to the EPC: the Packet Gateway, Security Gateway and Mobile Management Entity. Core elements desire not to be deer in the headlights of data-video traffic as its expected sharp increase occurs over the next couple of years, and so want to be 40G capable to support the bandwidth requirements. This is one of the key reasons why Telecom Equipment Manufacturers are already factoring in 40G capabilities and requirements as they build new solutions.

DPI encompasses devices and technologies that inspect and take action based on the packet payload contents rather than just the packet header. Deployed in-line with data traffic, DPI examines each packet for a variety of purposes, so the density requirement curves for this application are likely to follow those of LTE EPC elements. The demand for DPI capability will continue to grow as service providers upgrade their networks. One of the key drivers for DPI network deployments will be maximizing service revenues and profitability. Programmable DPI functionality allows service providers to offer a wide variety of value-added services on top of basic broadband access. Premium services require traffic management, monitoring, metering, and policy enforcement based on subscriber Service Level Agreements, and content modification at the application layer. With these capabilities, service providers can look forward to monitoring and billing for advanced value-added service, expanding Average Revenue per User.

MMA refers to redirecting traffic to media adaptation engines. Elements involved in MMA include traffic shaping, media caching, streaming, and adaptation solutions. This helps in optimizing the mobile users’ Quality of video Experience (QoE) as well as in reducing the Over-The-Air (OTA), backhaul, and core network bandwidth requirement on a per stream, per user basis. Terrestrial IP networks will also need MMA as Over-The-Top (OTT) video downloads by PC users increase. The elements involved must address very high line-speed processing to reduce latency, providing smooth video streaming with minimal buffering. This requires the high density that 40G systems offer as well as the ability to scale individual functions in a modular fashion, making AdvancedTCA an appropriate platform architecture.

To meet the demand for more bandwidth, service providers are mapping their transition to 40G. The good news is that technology is keeping pace with this growth, and the next generation of AdvancedTCA systems can handle the processing and I/O requirements of the newest applications.

RadiSys led the industry transition to 10G, and keenly understands that service providers need the ability to migrate systems at their own pace. RadiSys is again ahead of the innovation curve to 40G. Our ATCA 4.0 platform, based on our company’s fourth generation of AdvancedTCA products, ensures “investment protection,” by allowing for a smooth and economical transition from 10G to 40G, providing a state-of-the-art platform that is backward compatible and ready to handle next-generation applications.