Deep packet inspection (DPI) and systems using DPI technology are increasingly common within telecom operator networks. A range of specialist vendors sell solutions that use DPI as a base (often in conjunction with policy) to enable traffic management, traffic shaping, creation of sophisticated charging packages, quality of experience (QoE) management and improved network protection. They have been joined by the biggest telecom network equipment providers (NEPs) that are providing similar solutions.
DPI deployment is not without controversy. Consumers have concerns about privacy, and DPI is one of the underlying technologies that makes it possible for network operators to vary the provision of data applications and data services according to customer type, device type, subscription package and type of application and content (with increasing degrees of granularity). Variation of services according to such criteria is not necessarily a bad thing, but the capability has created concerns in some quarters for the preservation of net neutrality, and about the ability of operators to distort competition.
The emergence of an ecosystem of DPI building block vendors, selling everything from DPI capable chipsets to line cards, signature databases, SDKs and even probes, as well as software-ready platforms is enabling the deployment of DPI technology by more NEPs and other infrastructure and technology providers than ever before.
The next wave of DPI solutions on the market will include building blocks supplied by members of this community as DPI solution providers realize it is more cost effective to buy rather than build more elements of their platforms.
DPI appliances will still have a place in the market, and indeed will account for the majority of sales for the medium term, but appliance vendors will have to work harder to demonstrate their specialist capabilities and to differentiate their solutions.
DPI Appliance Vendors Face an Off-the-Shelf Challenge goes under the hood, looking at the technologies that DPI component and building block vendors are providing that will underpin the next wave of DPI technology deployments. It reviews where their DPI is starting to be embedded, and what the implications are for the vendors of DPI solutions – including specialist vendors and the major NEPs.