Policy control and management, including deep packet inspection (DPI), is an emerging area in IP networking that has become much more visible in the past 12 months, and looks set to become a major weapon in the arsenal of both wireline and wireless service providers implementing IP and broadband next-generation networks and service portfolios.
Decisions on policy tools are among the most challenging issues that telcos face. There are many options available, but the heterogeneity of those offers makes it hard to choose among vendors or to construct a clear business case, and standards are inconsistent and not always complete. Nevertheless, there is strong evidence that there will be rapid growth in deployment of policy tools over the next two years, driven by a desire to control "over the top" applications and to enrich the range of options available to consumers of both wireline and wireless services.
Policy Control & DPI: The New Broadband Imperative examines the entire spectrum of policy tools, including policy servers and decision points, DPI, call admission control, subscriber authorization and authentication tools, content and applications management, and identity management.
The report is based on comprehensive interviews with more than 30 vendors, as well as an exclusive, worldwide survey of more than 100 service providers, seeking their opinions on the future of policy control.
Interest is rising rapidly in policy control and management – a broad set of techniques that are designed to better align applications and subscriber needs with network resources. Although certain policy tools are standardized – in architectures such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Program (3GPP), the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's (ETSI) Telecoms & Internet converged Services & Protocols for Advanced Networks (Tispan) group, and CableLabs' PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) project – policy management is not a precisely defined concept, and service providers and vendors have varying views about the key requirements and the correct underlying technologies.
In order to clarify attitudes, this report has taken a very broad definition of policy, so as to gain the widest possible view of the options available to service providers.
Report Scope and Structure
Policy Control & DPI: The New Broadband Imperative is structured as follows:
Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.
Section II looks at the big picture and presents a taxonomy of policy control technology, looking at all the possible ways in which policy can be implemented and used, and at the standards that underpin policy control technologies.
Section III examines the vendor scene, explaining how vendors differentiate from each other and looking at purchasing styles on the telco side.
Section IV provides a vendor-by-vendor review of the policy market, evaluating the products, strategies, strengths, and weaknesses of more than 30 vendors making a play in this space.
Policy Control & DPI: The New Broadband is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:
Technology suppliers: What factors will shape and influence demand for policy management technologies and products in coming months and years? Which types of network operators are likely to move the most aggressively into deploying policy management products, and what issues are most important to them? Are your products and marketing messages in line with customer plans and expectations? How do your products match up to the competition in terms of meeting telco needs? Are there significant gaps in your product line coverage that need to be addressed to meet future demand for policy management solutions?
Network operators: How do your plans for policy management technology deployment compare with those of your competitors? How do the product lines of different technology suppliers track to your organization's needs? What are the real costs and opportunities involved with deployment of policy management technologies?
Investors: Which technologies are emerging as the winning solutions for policy control and DPI, and which companies are the leading providers of those solutions? How will the policy management market evolve over the next two to three years, and which companies are most likely to emerge as the market leaders?