Heavy Reading

Mobile Packet Core Networks & the Future of Wireless Data Services

Other than one or two high-flying Asian markets such as Japan and South Korea, the mobile data market continues to disappoint users, investors, and mobile operators alike. Messaging, and particularly text messaging, is showing strong growth, both in terms of revenue and profitability. But most consumers continue to resist transferring their PC- and TV-based applications onto mobile handsets on anything other than an incremental or experimental basis. And insofar as they are prepared to use these services at all, by and large they aren't prepared to pay for them.

Because of the obvious barrier presented by the ergonomic shortcomings of mobile devices, the capabilities of the packet core network often don't feature front and center in discussions about enhancing mobile data business models. And yet the mobile packet core is central to shaping the end user's quality of experience, which means it is central to the success or failure of mobile operators in building a sustainable business model for data services.

The design of the network directly affects cost, capacity, and latency. Aspects of policy that are determined by the packet core don't so much affect how effectively a specific user group can be targeted by the operator, but rather whether that group can be targeted at all. The relationship between packet inspection capabilities in the core and the operator's billing system determines the variety of pricing models for data services that are available to mobile operators.

Large segments of mobile operators' customers – perhaps the majority of them – aren't prepared to pay a fixed fee for "all you can eat" access to mobile data services. The ability to provide differentiated quality of service (QOS) is a potentially powerful differentiator now that High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) – to be joined in the near future by High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) – is delivering genuinely mobile broadband bandwidths, and now that peer-to-peer traffic is starting to make its way onto the mobile network.

Mobile Packet Core Networks & the Future of Wireless Data Services analyzes the reality of mobile data services today, detailing the current state of the market, the amount of data traffic actually traversing the network, and operator approaches to charging for services. The report provides a concise overview of the mobile packet core network today, describing what leading mobile operators have deployed in terms of design architecture, capacity, and features. It also takes account of the varied levels of sophistication in current operator deployments. The report profiles the two key nodes in GSM and W-CDMA networks – namely the Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) and the Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) – along with additional capabilities that can be deployed either as separate network elements or else as enhanced IP service


[click on the image below for the full excerpt]

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The report analyzes mobile packet core equipment in terms of both the major incumbents that inhabit it and the smaller companies that add value to the network – some with specific point products, but increasingly with multi-featured policy products. It also considers the impact of vendor consolidation from several perspectives, including the acquisition of startups by the major incumbents; consolidation among the major incumbents themselves; and the efforts of small players to build their value proposition into adjacent spaces in the network, to strengthen their existing account footprints and enhance their positioning for new opportunities.

The report investigates the rate at which vendors are deploying new capabilities, as well as the rate at which operators are deploying them. New capabilities are considered for enhancing network efficiency as well as for delivering enhanced services to end users in the field of deep packet inspection, bandwidth management, personalization, and security.

The report concludes with a profile of the major vendors that are delivering products into the mobile packet core space and the way that their solutions are providing the core technology building blocks from which mobile operators can further develop the mobile data services market.

For a list of vendors profiled and evaluated in this report, click here.

Mobile Packet Core Networks & the Future of Wireless Data Services covers a full range of technologies intended to improve the efficiency of mobile packet core networks, including:

Integrated services GGSNs
Detach timer on the SGSN
Pico cells and distributed packet core functionality
SGSN payload bypass
Diameter-based charging
Improved billing systems
Migration to IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
Security and content filtering
Deep packet inspection and heuristic analysis
Quality of service improvements

In addition, the report provides Heavy Reading's first-ever market share analysis of the mobile packet core equipment sector, focusing on market share among suppliers of GGSN and SGSN products.

Report Scope and Structure

Mobile Packet Core Networks & the Future of Wireless Data Services is structured as follows:

Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.

Section II analyzes the factors that have impeded the development of mobile data services as a viable business for most wireless network operators.

Section III details the current composition of data traffic being carried by mobile networks, focusing on the impact that increases in peer-to-peer traffic are having on the mobile packet core.

Sections IV explores the current state of mobile packet core networks, pinpointing problem areas that may be hindering the full development of mobile data services.

Section V identifies and evaluates the technology improvements that vendors are now making to boost the efficiency and performance of mobile packet core networks.

Section VI focuses on improvements that are being made to policy management functions for mobile packet core networks.

Section VII analyzes the current state of the mobile packet core equipment sector, including a breakdown of market shares for SGSN and GGSN products.

Section VIII provides in-depth profiles of the leading incumbent and specialist vendors supplying mobile packet core solutions.

The report is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:

Mobile packet core technology suppliers: How will the ongoing shifts in mobile operator service offerings affect your business? Where are the new opportunities for market growth? Are your products and marketing messages in line with customer plans and expectations? Are there significant gaps in your product line coverage that need to be addressed to meet future demand for backhaul solutions?
Other wireless equipment suppliers: Will demand for your products be affected by new deployment plans for mobile packet core technologies? Which technologies are emerging as the most likely winners for tomorrow’s wireless data networks? Is your company in position to take advantage of those anticipated changes?
Mobile network operators: How do your plans for next-gen data service deployment compare with those of your competitors? Does your mobile packet core buildout strategy deliver the best cost and performance option for your network, or are there other alternatives that will deliver greater efficiency? Which technology suppliers are in the best position to meet your next-gen network requirements?
Investors: Which technologies are emerging as the winning solutions for mobile packet core networks, and which companies are the leading providers of those solutions? How will mobile packet core buildouts affect profitability for the wireless service sector in the coming months and years?

Mobile Packet Core Networks & the Future of Wireless Data Services is published in PDF format.

PRICE: $3,995
Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
Donegan has 16 years' experience as a telecom market journalist, analyst, and strategist. His in-depth knowledge of wireless technology...
Click here for full list of vendors included in this report
48 pages of analysis covering deployment of mobile packet core technology by wireless service providers to accommodate traffic growth driven by the transition to packet-based services
In-depth product and strategy analyses for leading vendors and technology suppliers in the mobile packet core sector
Heavy Reading's first-ever market share analysis for the mobile packet core sector
Full analysis of the technology and market factors that are affecting network operator deployment of next-gen mobile data services
PRICE: $3,995
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