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Leading-edge platform makes dream of application-aware network a reality

Unmet challenges concerning explosive demand for mobile internet data volumes pressure telecom companies and negatively impact the service quality for end users. An EU initiative has delivered a dynamic bandwidth management solution enabling the smart distribution of mobile internet bandwidth for telecoms.

Digital Economy

Mobile internet isn’t reliable enough for mission-critical applications, such as remote healthcare and autonomous driving. The overall user experience can also be improved significantly if different types of traffic like mobile gaming and internet protocol television are treated according to their inherent needs. “An operator that’s able to provide service level agreement (SLA) assurances and enhanced quality of experience (QoE) will also be able to monetise the network more efficiently,” says Mika Skarp, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Cloudstreet, coordinator of the EU-funded AWARENET project. A pressing issue in the domain is that mobile operator revenues have been flat for over a decade, while data use has grown exponentially. “This equation is unsustainable, and it means that operators’ ability to invest in new technologies like 5G is limited,” he adds. To address this issue, AWARENET has provided operators with the tools needed to generate new revenue from premium quality-assured connectivity. It allows for SLA and QoE guarantees in mobile networks, ensuring that mission-critical use cases can be reliably delivered over the mobile internet. It’s expected that end users will be able to rely more on the mobile network, adopting completely new ways of working because they will be free of the need for wired connectivity. This will greatly impact sectors such as public safety, healthcare, fixed wireless access and video contribution. Transforming existing solution into market-ready telecom product Project partners further developed and scaled up their existing dynamic profile controller (DPC) solution. In 2016, the year before AWARENET started, this innovative network slicing platform was awarded Best Connectivity Solution at the World Communications Awards. The project team is busy commercialising the product to enable mobile operators to deliver customer-oriented services within their current and future networks. “The disruptive innovation helps to identify the exact data needed for each internet-connected device or application on-the-fly and deliver the required bandwidth accordingly,” explains Skarp. It enables instant and fully automated network optimisation to serve each end user’s precise data requirements at any particular moment, without affecting other network users’ connections. “Our DPC is the world’s first commercially available application-aware network solution.” The solution is able to dynamically change network settings per application and provide predictive quality of service management for mission-critical applications. The DPC makes 5G-type services available on 4G networks as well when providing admission control mechanisms for 5G network slices. AWARENET provides a blueprint for how mission-critical applications can be run over the mobile internet. Parts of the technology have already been implemented into 3rd Generation Partnership Project standards, and the overall concept of an awareness application program interface is recognised as a necessity for future networks. During AWARENET, the consortium won a TM Forum award for Outstanding Catalyst Business Impact. TM Forum recognises Catalyst teams that have demonstrated outstanding work. Catalysts are proof-of-concept projects implemented by TM Forum members that connect diverse organisations in developing innovative, commercially viable prototypes of new digital services and business models. “Thanks to AWARENET, we’re working closely with two global tier-1 companies in the telecommunications and critical communications sectors,” concludes Skarp. “Additionally, we’re starting our first two commercial deliveries for the Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.”

Keywords

AWARENET, network, mobile internet, telecom, DPC, application-aware network, bandwidth, mission-critical applications

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