According to Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure, IDC, "the emergence of SD-WAN technology has been one of the fastest industry transformations we have seen in years1."The high growth potential of the SD-WAN market means that competition is high among solution providers. They need to add value to their solutions in order to differentiate their offerings and gain a competitive advantage. One way to do this is to bundle features based on Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technologies into a wider SD-WAN offering. However, the success of these offerings depends on the ability to provide the solutions with a detailed understanding of network traffic through access to application-level and user-level visibility. The only technology capable of delivering such a granular view is Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). By providing detailed information about IP flows and their content in real-time, a DPI engine creates visibility that is essential to the delivery of more responsive and precise SD-WAN functions.

Support for uCPE: the must-have feature

The move towards virtualized architectures has created additional requirements, notably support for uCPE, which is essential for reducing total cost of ownership and the ability to deliver features such as Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). Any SD-WAN solution must therefore be able to function seamlessly across uCPE as well as dedicated hardware to cover all deployment scenarios. This means that embedded DPI engines must also support different runtime environments, including small, low-cost, access devices.

Encryption: it doesn’t have to be an issue

An increasing proportion of flows on IP networks, especially Internet traffic, is now encrypted. By definition, a DPI engine cannot read a packet payload that is encrypted. However, some DPI experts have developed advanced techniques such as statistical flow analysis, session prediction, peer matching, and certificate inspection that work around this and allow encrypted flows to be classified. Classification of these flows mean that value-added SD-WAN features such as traffic optimization, policy enforcement, and user experience are largely unaffected by encryption.

The Qosmos Division of Enea is a specialist in DPI technologies. Using techniques developed specifically for the classification of encrypted traffic, the following flows can be classified:

HTTPS/SSL encrypted flows

Encrypted P2P protocols like BitTorrent

Applications that use their own encryption protocol like Skype. Qosmos can also identify services like VoIP and chat within Skype by using statistical recognition.

IPSec tunnels

Session prediction based on DNS cache

DPI: build vs. buy

One of the top questions facing developers of SD-WAN solutions is whether to build a proprietary DPI engine or to buy one from a specialist? In the end, it all comes down to cost and accuracy. Building an effective DPI engine is a highly specialized task. It requires the right kind of technical expertise, dedicated resources and a lot of time. However, and perhaps more importantly, achieving and maintaining the required level of accuracy as time goes by is a mountainous task. Applications and protocols constantly evolve so that over the long term, the number of hours required to maintain a fresh DPI solution far exceeds those required to build it in the first place.

By outsourcing DPI technology, development teams are free to concentrate resources on SD-WAN functionalities and performance while providing solutions with the most advanced DPI technologies available. In addition, sourcing a ready-to-use DPI engine component from a specialist gives access to a comprehensive protocol library that is regularly updated with new signatures and classification techniques, ensuring the highest level of network visibility at all times. Time-to-market for SD-WAN solutions is accelerated while development and maintenance costs are reduced, resulting in more effective management of overall operational expenditures.

What to look for in a DPI engine?

Certain DPI engine characteristics have a higher impact on the performance of SD-WAN solutions than others. The following is a list of key characteristics to look for when choosing a DPI engine:

Number of protocols and applications that can be identified

Ability to integrate custom signatures

Extraction of application metadata and number of metadata available

Ability to analyze traffic in real-time at any connection speed

Ability to classify and keep track of all network flows by application and user

Volume, delay and jitter provided per application, user and network link

Support for SDN/NFV environments by using a flow-based approach to cover traffic going across both physical and logical interfaces

Support for a wide range of run-time environments, from uCPE to appliances

Availability of actionable security information in real-time (e.g. automatic identification of fake or corrupted files)

Availability of computed statistics in real-time (e.g. MOS for VoIP)

For further reading, download the whitepaper “Adding Value to SD-WAN with DPI”. 

This is Part 2 of the full article on "Gaining a Competitive Advantage in SD-WAN - The Role of DPI". Read Part 1: How to Gain a Competitive Advantage in Fast Growing SD-WAN Market' here.

About Qosmos Technology

Qosmos is the DPI Division of Enea and is totally focused on Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, continuously monitoring protocols, reverse engineering new protocols and regularly delivering updates to ensure the highest possible traffic visibility for customer solutions.

Enea’s leading DPI-based classification and metadata engine, Qosmos ixEngine®, recognizes over 3100 protocols, more than any other DPI library on the market. Delivered as a software component, it is used by development teams at equipment manufacturers, solution vendors, and systems integrators to integrate DPI capabilities into their solutions. It can be used in all environments: physical, virtualized and SDN architectures.

Qosmos ixEngine is easily integrated into uCPE solutions by supporting DPDK and OVS for fast data capture and uses standard variables such as ConnTrack App ID and NSH to enable real-time service control. Designed with developers in mind, Qosmos’ software libraries are easy to embed into third party products and solutions.

For more information on Enea’s Qosmos DPI technology:

About Enea

Enea develops the software foundation for the connected society. We provide solutions for mobile traffic optimization, subscriber data management, network virtualization, traffic classification, embedded operating systems, and professional services. Solution vendors, systems integrators, and service providers use Enea to create new world-leading networking products and services. More than 3 billion people around the globe already rely on Enea technologies in their daily lives. For more information:

Published in Expert Opinion

Epsilon, a privately-owned global communications Service Provider, has expanded its partnership with AMS-IX to AMS-IX Hong Kong.

Epsilon’s partners can remotely peer at AMS-IX’s exchange in Hong Kong on-demand via its Infiny by Epsilon Software-Defined Networking (SDN) platform.

On-demand remote peering enables network-centric businesses of all sizes to instantly connect to global Internet Exchanges (IX) and give users an optimised Cloud and Content experience. This partnership enables an organisation to self-register on Infiny and immediately connect to AMS-IX Hong Kong as well as IXs and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) across the globe.

AMS-IX’s Hong Kong peering fabric brings a new level of connectivity options to one of the fastest growing internet regions in the world. AMS-IX’s Hong Kong peering environment houses nearly 50 of the world’s leading ASNs. This generates nearly 40G of peak traffic already and continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Jerzy Sclosarek, CEO, Epsilon
We are simplifying and accelerating how our partners connect globally. Our partnership with AMS-IX creates new value across the value chain and enables more organisations globally to benefit from on-demand remote peering. 

Jesse Robbers, CCO, AMS-IX
We’re pleased to be expanding our partnership with Epsilon and enabling more organisations to benefit from peering in Hong Kong. Internet demand is exploding across Asia and we’re proud to have a dynamic and growing ecosystem in the region.

Published in Technology & Solutions

ADTRAN announced its acquisition of SmartRG, a leading company that provides open-source connected home platforms and cloud services for broadband service providers.

Based in Vancouver, Washington, SmartRG brings long-standing industry leadership and expertise in open-source software development, as well as a comprehensive portfolio of cloud-managementanalyticsWi-Fi-enabled residential gateways and its SmartOS software platform.

The company’s executive team and employees will remain in place to ensure a seamless transition and accelerated market share growth, while leveraging ADTRAN’s global reach and resources.

Together, ADTRAN Mosaic and Smart OS provide full end-to-end management and orchestration solutions from cloud edge to subscriber edge. 

SmartRG counts more than 3 million devices in service and over 1.3 million devices under management in North America, the Caribbean and South America. The company expects to scale and drive growth through its differentiated software solutions as more customers shift from closed, proprietary options to SmartOS—its open-source-based, cloud-enabled solution suite.

Jay Wilson, Sr. VP of Technology and Strategy, Adtran
SmartRG’s expansive customer base exemplifies its market leadership and we are committed to a smooth transition, as we move toward full collaboration and integration with our award-winning Mosaic platforms.

Jeff Mclnnis, President and CEO, SmartRG
As fiber-based, virtually future-proof residential networks become a reality and bandwidth is no longer the gating factor, value creation will come from the ability to optimize the subscriber experience. 

Published in Solution Vendors M&A

Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile Polska lays the foundation for commercial 5G expansion in Poland with the initial deployment of 5G base stations.

The project will start with four base stations based entirely on the future 5G standard 5G New Radio (5G NR). First, the center of the capital Warsaw will be covered, then T-Mobile will gradually expand the 5G network to other cities.

T-Mobile Polska has distributed the first devices that enable access to the 5G network to selected business customers and partners. This enables partners to test and further develop their own business solutions and products in the real 5G network today, so that they can later offer them on the mass market.

The 5G network in the center of Warsaw uses commercial 5G technology from Huawei and will be integrated into the live network infrastructure. This means it interacts with T-Mobile's existing 4G technology. This enables connections and field tests of future 5G services under real conditions. The antennas currently use the 3.5 GHz spectrum as part of a test license. 

Red Hat has acquired NooBaa, an early stage company developing software for managing data storage services across hybrid and multicloud environments.

The addition of NooBaa's data management technology augments Red Hat's existing portfolio of hybrid cloud offerings and helps advance Red Hat's position as a leading provider of open hybrid cloud technologies.

Data portability is a key imperative for organizations building and deploying cloud-native applications across private and multiple clouds. NooBaa was founded in 2013 to address the need for greater visibility and control over unstructured data spread throughout these distributed environments. To achieve this, the company developed a data platform designed to serve as an abstraction layer over existing storage infrastructure.

This abstraction not only enables data portability from one cloud to another, but allows users to manage data stored in multiple locations as a single, coherent data set that an application can interact with.

NooBaa's technologies complement and enhance Red Hat's portfolio of hybrid cloud technologies, including Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage and Red Hat Ceph Storage. Together, these technologies are designed to provide users with a set of powerful, consistent and cohesive capabilities for managing application, compute, storage and data resources across public and private infrastructures.

Range Rangachari, VP and GM, Storage and Hyperconverged Infrastructure, Red Hat
Data portability is a key imperative for organizations building and deploying cloud-native applications across private and multiple clouds. NooBaa’s technologies will augment our portfolio and strengthen our ability to meet the needs of developers in today’s hybrid and multicloud world. 

Published in Solution Vendors M&A

Last year, there was much talk of 5G: when would networks be deployed, which operators were testing what, and which region would lead the 5G race? As the costs and complexities of rolling out the next generation standard have crystallised, however, the industry’s attitude has sobered. As such, 2019 will be a year for LTE.

We’ll see the impressive early results of LTE public safety networks, TfL progress with upgrading connectivity on the Tube, and building owners taking matters into their own hands. 5G is exciting, but an expensive and long-term strategy, so next year will also be characterised by cost-saving moves, as the value of long-term, future-proof solutions becomes clear.

#1: IoT connectivity requirements to be fulfilled by 4.5G

As the IoT expands, so do the scale of projects and applications. The industrial IoT (IIoT) will be characterised by sites with a high volume of connected devices and sensors - such as processing plants, mining and oil exploration, shipping ports - which require always-on, ultra-low latency, ultra-reliable and ultra-secure cellular connectivity. Signal in these environments often supports mission critical applications and needs to penetrate industrial-grade infrastructure, and hardware needs to withstand often harsh environments. Connectivity must be robust and reliable: failures, poor coverage and outages could risk to revenues and safety.

What does this mean for 2019? Whilst in the future, it’ll be 5G that facilitates the IIoT, next year we’ll see a demand from the IIoT sector for 4.5G, which can support a wide range of IoT services. 4.5G technology can co-exist with 5G when the networks arrive and will continue to be used for years to come. There will therefore be a demand for coverage systems that can support 4.5G today, and also be able to support 5G when the technology arrives. Networks must be inherently scalable and able to support a range of different radio frequencies which will be used by the IoT.

#2: Venue owners will take LTE into their own hands

The demand for high-capacity in-building coverage will continue to grow; most of us now expect to be able to use our phones wherever we go. Businesses like hotels, shopping centres, and sports stadiums require adequate mobile coverage not just to meet visitor expectations, but also to help unlock value-added in-venue services - these could include things like dedicated apps and navigation tools. LTE coverage is also required in office buildings and shared work spaces to fill in for patchy Wi-Fi, as well as emergency services communications.

For years, building owners have asked mobile operators for dedicated indoor cellular coverage, but little progress has been made. Failing to provide adequate coverage could seriously dent real estate lease rates, and as such we’ll see a growing number of venue owners taking LTE coverage into their own hands. Lacking technical experience and know-how, these parties will require value-added resellers and systems integrators to develop networks for them which are cost-effective and can support multiple operators. This model, called neutral host, enables a venue to own the network, and open it up to a number of different operators to supply connectivity.


#3: Operators will share infrastructure to lower costs

For years, operators have been reluctant to share hardware and network infrastructure, and have instead worked independently. However, the costs involved with building, deploying and maintaining network infrastructure mean that in many cases this approach is no longer tenable.

2019 will see growing acceptance in the industry of operators sharing infrastructure, in order to minimise costs and ensure that coverage demands from consumers and businesses can be met as quickly as possible. In the UK, we’ll see the results of Ofcom’s move - announced earlier this year - to introduce unrestricted access to Openreach’s underground ducts and telegraph poles, in order to expedite the deployment of fibre networks.

Large venues, such as stadiums, airports and shopping malls will be increasingly creating their own networks, which will be designed to be shared by multiple operators. This offers a great opportunity for operators to begin sharing infrastructure, and will establish a blueprint for cost-effective in-building connectivity for the future.

#4: Emergency services will reap the benefits of LTE data

Ingo Flomer,
VP of Business Development & Technology,
Cobham Wireless

Following years of development, in 2019 we’ll see the results of investments in LTE public safety networks and the delivery of data services for emergency services. Just how much progress is actually made will depend on budget management. Not only will current public safety infrastructure and solutions need to be upgraded and certified, but connectivity will have to be guaranteed throughout the period of transition from the old TETRA system to the new Emergency Services Network (ESN).

One of the major challenges that the ESN faces in the development of new functionality within LTE public safety networks. This includes push-to-talk and group chat functionality, which are not standardised services in today’s LTE networks and require new core, signal processing and radio interface protocols to be developed, which will take time.

Lincolnshire Police will serve as a litmus test for the capability of the technology, and its users. Motorola won the contract to deliver the first cloud-based, Control Room Solution (CRS) to the county’s police force, so we’ll see the results of this implementation at some point in the New Year. It’s important to remember though, that police officers are not tech specialists; training and support to use the new systems will be crucial to ESN’s success.

#5: TfL announcement will spur long-awaited upgrade

On to another project which has been talked up for years and is finally bearing fruit - 4G on the London Underground. The tender process has begun, and we’re eagerly awaiting details of the winning contracts, which will be announced in the New Year.

We first heard about an upgrade of the Tube’s coverage system about 20 years ago, since when there’s been a lot of back and forth! Fortunately, technology has improved over the past two decades, so that today, contractors will be able to overcome a whole host of challenges related to connecting the underground environment. Confined spaces, dust and damage from trains, and the sheer scale of the project (the 402km of track is comprised mostly of subterranean routes) place demands on both supplier experience and equipment.

What’s needed is a wireless coverage solution which comprises minimal hardware, yet provides maximum resilience and minimal signal loss, which is cost-and energy efficient, and supports multiple operators, as well as reliable public safety communications. Companies that have already proven to deliver on such projects are likely to be called into action to deliver 4G rapidly and cost-effectively. This is a project of national pride, so it’d be great to see as many UK-based companies as possible having the opportunity to contribute. As such, we’ll continue to keep a very close eye on news and updates from TfL during 2019!

#6: C-RAN and MEC come together

Mission critical IoT - and IIoT - applications will require processing power to move closer to the end-user, due to the demand for ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency connectivity. Think of a case like remote robotic surgery, where there has to be almost no lag time, and data has to be sent, received and processed in real time. Processing this data in a remotely-located data centre will not be enough; instead, processing power must move closer to the end-user. This is Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), and has been gaining momentum in recent years. It is, however, pretty expensive to deploy.

The C-RAN approach, whereby baseband processing is focussed and managed in one central location away from a venue, has already been identified as the critical network architecture for supporting the connectivity needs of the IoT. In 2019, we’ll see the convergence of the two technologies, with operators able to make cost savings by deploying C-RAN and MEC infrastructure together, rather than having to make separate, costly investments.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) announced its Mobile Services offers vis its MVNO business aimed at enticing existing 1010, csl, SUN Mobile customers.

HKBN Group which is Hong Kong's largest provider of residential high speed fibre broadband secured its MVNO license in 2016. 

Customers who successfully port-in their mobile numbers to HKBN's designated mobile service plan, can receive up to HK$2,000 DCH Foods cash vouchers* whilst they enjoy the high-quality mobile services from HKBN, said the Operator.

From now until further notice, existing 1010, csl, SUN Mobile customers who port-in their numbers and subscribe to HKBN's designated HK$78/month or HK$218/month mobile service plans for a 24-month contract term, will receive HK$1,000 or HK$2,000 DCH Foods cash vouchers respectively.

NiQ Lai, Co-Owner and CEO, HKBN
Since entering the mobile service arena, HKBN has relentlessly disrupted legacy practices to bring customers industry-leading service and amazing value-for-money. Today, we continue this strategy with a mind-blowing offer that's designed to entice existing mobile customers of 1010, csl and SUN Mobile to switch over and enjoy HKBN's premier services. As a result of this campaign, we'll further expand our market share in Hong Kong's mobile communications space.

UK's EE claims that it will be the first operator in the world to bring its customers the OnePlus 5G smartphone.

Chinese smartphone firm, OnePlus announced EE as its 5G launch partner at the Qualcomm summit event, taking place in Hawaii. EE and OnePlus are working on an R&D partnership to ensure the best possible 5G connected experience for customers.

EE is switching on 5G sites in 16 UK cities in 2019. The first launch cities will be the UK’s four capital cities – London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast – and Birmingham and Manchester. As well as the six launch cities, through 2019 EE will also be introducing 5G across the busiest parts of ten more UK cities: Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.

The first 1,500 sites that EE is upgrading to 5G in 2019 carry 25% of all data across the whole network today, but only cover 15% of the UK population. 5G is built on top of EE’s award winning 4G network – customers’ 5G experience will be dictated by the quality of both 4G and 5G, as well as the underlying fixed network.

EE is upgrading transmission to 10Gbps links at each 5G site, and has tested the new links – the fastest in use anywhere in the UK – at its trial sites in Canary Wharf and across East London.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT's Consumer Division
Adding 5G to the UK’s number one 4G network will increase reliability, increase speeds, and keep our customers connected where they need it most. We have an ambition to connect our customers to 4G, 5G or Wi-Fi 100% of the time.

Pete Lau, CEO and founder, OnePlus
The pursuit of speed has defined the OnePlus DNA since OnePlus was founded five years ago. There’s no one more suitable than OnePlus to make a 5G smartphone.

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