Wireless and fixed line carriers are making significant investments in policy management and analytics. Policy management solutions enable carriers to efficiently manage their networks, making maximum use of their network infrastructure and deliver services that match the expectations of their subscribers. Network analytics allow carriers to understand what applications and services are being used by customers. Carriers are using this information to tailor subscription plans, develop network infrastructure and offer new services to deliver the best return on investment (RoI).
Policy management and analytics for wireless and wireline networks require stateful analysis of packets within a flow and the identification of signatures in multiple packets within a flow. Using this information the system can extract metadata associated with individual applications. To meet these requirements, system and software vendors have switched from hardware-based deep packet inspection (DPI) solutions to software running on multicore and network processors. Many of these processors have hardware acceleration that can be used for DPI.
As data traffic on both wireless and fixed networks has grown, carriers have been forced to invest in DPI solutions for policy management and other functions. Service provider DPI product revenue totaled $596 million worldwide in 2012, up 28 percent, according to Infonetics. The wireless segment of the DPI market is forecast by Infonetics to grow at a 33 percent CAGR from 2012 to 2017. Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a key driver of growth in this market.
Policy management and analytics are core requirements for broadband service providers. The market has been dominated by specialist vendors with DPI and policy enforcement software that will run on a range of multicore processors. By using standalone policy enforcement systems, operators have been able to deploy policy management solutions independently of the core network infrastructure. The market is now changing with carriers looking for integrated solutions with DPI and policy management running on virtualized hardware within an SDN or VFV infrastructure.
As shown in the report, there is now a strong software ecosystem and new multicore processors that are delivering significant increases in performance. Most policy management vendors now offer software solutions that will run on any of the leading multicore processors. This gives operators the opportunity to deploy policy management solutions using the most appropriate software functionality and the hardware platform that best fits with their network infrastructure. The shift to a virtualized infrastructure is a key challenge. The vendors that will be most successful going forward are those that can deliver DPI, policy management and analytics solutions that achieve 100Gbit/s performance in virtualized environments, including software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).
DPI Vendors Deliver on Policy Management & Analytics details and analyzes leading DPI, policy management and analytics system vendors, DPI and multicore processor vendors, and DPI and policy management software vendors. The report profiles 20 vendors in this important market, including a review of component architectures, identifying the key features and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers.