Heavy Reading
Length: 82 Slides
Price: $6,995
Simon Sherrington
Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading
Simon is an independent consultant who contributes regularly to Heavy Reading and to other Heavy Reading projects...MORE
Danny Dicks
Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading
Danny is an analyst and consultant with more than 20 years' experience in technology markets who contributes regularly to Heavy Reading Insider and to other Heavy Reading projects...MORE
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Length: 82 Slides
Price: $6,995
Policy Control & DPI Market Tracker September 2017

This tracker assesses the market for policy management and deep packet inspection (DPI). Definition of policy management as a market is complex, because there are no clear boundaries between hardware and software that handles policy tasks and related elements that handle such tasks. DPI is used for a range of tasks, including but not restricted to policy management. However, we consider policy servers and DPI hardware and software to now be closely enough related to constitute a single market segment, and this is the market assessed in this tracker.

Heavy Reading estimates the global policy management and DPI market will grow from $1,977 million in 2016 to $1,991 million in 2017. This 1% annual growth is somewhat flatter than our previously forecast growth for the year as a result of general softness in the telecom equipment market with operators waiting before making large-scale network functions virtualization (NFV) deployments.

Heavy Reading still expects growth, with the overall market reaching $2,467 million in 2021, lower than previously forecast; we predict continued market slowness next year. Longer term, though, we expect increasing traffic in mobile networks, investment in new infrastructure (including for 5G), upgrading to virtualized and cloud environments, and new IoT use cases and increased complexity of policy deployments to sustain revenues. We expect policy servers to continue to account for around 60% of the total market covered by this tracker.

For convenience, we divide the market in our segmented forecast between policy servers and related sales, and policy-related DPI sales. Specifically, this tracker defines policy management (for the purposes of our forecast) to include:
  • Policy servers that conform with the 3GPP PCC entity, called the Policy & Charging Rules Function (PCRF), but also including non-3GPP standardized policy servers conforming to other industry standards such as CableLabs PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM).

  • Standalone policy enforcement and monitoring hardware and software, such as DPI appliances and related products in this area, along with DPI software in GGSNs, PGWs and other equipment where we believe that this is accounted for separately by vendors. Our definition here includes the use of DPI not just to perform the 3GPP PCEF (or related standards-based) role, but to identify, in real time, applications and other information in packet flows that is used by policy servers to help make decisions. Our definition also includes use of DPI for analytics, to help improve how services are packaged, and therefore the way policies are framed and applied, as well as use of DPI in association with subscriber information in a quasi-policy role.

  • Both hardware and virtualized/NFV versions of any of the above.

  • Subscriber profile repository (SPR) and online charging system (OCS) and offline charging system (OFCS) capability, if these are pre-integrated into the policy offer in a single contract.

  • Revenues from professional and engineering services associated with these products, e.g., to create policies, for training, to customize or interoperate with legacy equipment or other policy elements, for maintenance, etc.
Note that there is, inevitably, some fuzziness about the boundaries of some of these categories, but we have endeavored to ensure that the numbers track the definition as closely as possible.

Regarding DPI, a classical definition would focus on the ability to analyze and understand what a data packet contains, and to what application or service it belongs. This means having visibility up to Layer 7, with the ability to see into the header and payload. However, DPI appliance vendors commonly employ other types of analysis, such as flow-based traffic analysis or behavioral traffic analysis, in conjunction with DPI.

In this tracker, we use the term "DPI" broadly to cover all techniques commonly used to determine, at the greatest possible granularity, what a packet is, to what service or application it belongs, which subscriber sent it, and what type of data it contains.

The analysis is focused on the use of DPI in the context of policy management, broadly defined, by network operators. It does not include technology designed for enterprise customers (from vendors such as Packeteer or Riverbed). It also excludes revenues from vendors that mainly use DPI for other reasons (e.g., Arbor Networks, which uses DPI primarily for certain security applications).

This tracker is focused on revenues from systems sold to network operators, directly or indirectly, so it also excludes revenues from subsystem software and hardware vendors such as Qosmos, to avoid double-counting.

The starting point for this forecast is information provided by the leading vendors in this area, which were interviewed for this tracker or provided information via email. Many vendors provided indicative information, sometimes under NDA or "off the record." Most vendors also shared information on number of contracts, indicative contract sizes, growth in revenues or number of contracts year-over-year, as well as expectations for the coming year.


Heavy Reading's Policy Control & DPI Market Tracker is published in PowerPoint format. A single market tracker report costs $6,995. An annual subscription (two reports) costs $12,000. For more information, or to purchase the Policy Control & DPI Market Tracker, please contact:

Dave Williams
Global Director of Sales, Heavy Reading