Vasona Networks scores cell congestion pilot with O2 UK

Cell optimisation specialist Vasona Networks has received a major validation by coming through tests to win a 700 site pilot project with Telefonica UK.

Vasona Networks, the company that markets an unusual way of providing capacity management and traffic optimisation on a per-cell basis, has announced a major reference client in Telefonica UK (O2).

The company’s SmartAir 1000 edge application controller and SmartVISION analysis suite are being piloted by Telefonica UK to monitor and control bandwidth across 700 3G sites in London. The pilot follows earlier tests of the technology by the UK operator.

Vasona smartAIR Telefonica O2 Vasona’s SmartAIR1000 is a platform that can sit across the core and the RAN, monitoring traffic patterns to detect when congestion is occurring in a certain cell, and the traffic profiles that are affected. The company says that this RAN/core intersection is a crucial interface in the network because it can analyse traffic at scale, but also still see individual cell performance.

Integrated with its analytics suite, the aim is to provide real-time visibility of network traffic and active session management across individual cells when congestion occurs. The company calls its technology dynamic rate control with feedback (DRCF).

DRCF uses session states and cell state information to provide ongoing feedback to a rate control function; the platform will do things like map equipment within each cell, including movements, entries, and exits, and which devices are active and consuming services. It can also understand what apps are running in a cell – such as streaming, browsing, or background updating. The key thing is that DRCF needs to take action only if there is congestion, and with assessment of conditions at milliseconds-scale congestion issues within a particular cell can be mitigated almost as they occur.

Ken Rehben, Principal Analyst, 451 Research Mobility Team, told TMN, “What is important about Vasona’s platform is the way it is capable of delivering quick relief for operators experiencing traffic saturation. The system provides a higher order view of flows and services, acting in effect as a capacitor to even out delivery of packets to the sites when there is congestion occurring.

A clever, different, and fresh approach

“By filling in the gaps and the dips that exist in the traffic stream, the system gives the operators a very interesting tool to delay building out more capacity to a site,” Rehben added.

That ability to enable operators to defer capital investment in new equipment, or in upgrading existing radio equipment, is an important plus for Vasona. “A key element is that nothing happens unless the cell is reaching a crisis point. So it’s a lovely safety valve for operators that find themselves working at the edge of performance ,” Rehben added. “It’s a clever, different, and fresh approach.”

Vasona has been making a virtue of its ability to give operators a way of managing traffic flows, even as an increasing amount of content is being encrypted by content or web service providers, which might hamper traditional methods of identifying and then optimising traffic.

Rehben is on board with that too, saying that Vasona’s approach “steps away from all the issues that arise when you no longer look inside the packet, instead looking at characteristics and trying to do the right thing in terms of traffic management – allowing disparate traffic flows to co-exist.”

So what might trip up Vasona? Rehben again: “There’s a possibility that other vendors may get into this but I haven’t seen offers that match it . And it’s possible that OEM, system suppliers and large NEPS may adapt their schedulers to do a better job of dealing with high volumes at times of limited capacity,but so far the success that Vasona has been having with a major Tier 1 [operator] suggests that hasn’t happened.”

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