Openet said today that it had deployed the world’s first commercial instance of a newly specified network function that informs Policy elements in the core network of cell site congestion.
Openet’s Congestion Management Systems (CMS) will act as a RAN Congestion Awareness Function (RCAF) function in a US Tier 1 operator’s core network, feeding RAN User Plane Congestion Information (RUCI), captured by network probes, to Policy elements. The idea is to use the information so that policy functions can better manage network offload selection via mechanisms such as ANDSF, perhaps to offload the heaviest users within a cell (within permitted net neutrality laws).
In 3GPP specifications for RCAF, which have been in development since 2014, the RCAF is a functional entity which reports RAN User Plane Congestion Information to the PCRF to enable the PCRF to take congestion status into account for policy decisions. The RCAF informs the Policy Control Resource Function (PCRF) with user plane congestion information via an Diameter interface called the Np, defined in 3GPP R13 – the latest batch of 3GP specs. The Np enables transport of RAN User Plane Congestion Information (RUCI) sent from the RCAF to the PCRF, depending on the operator’s congestion mitigation policy.
The RCAF function was defined with 3GPP’s System Architecture Stage 2 working group, with the latest specification published in April 2016.