Data Offload Survival Guide - Part 2
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Data Offload Survival Guide - Part 2

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Mobile networks are now dominated by data. If we rewind back to a decade ago, smartphones and application stores were unheard of. Twitter and Facebook were not in existence and YouTube wasn’t as ...

Mobile networks are now dominated by data. If we rewind back to a decade ago, smartphones and application stores were unheard of. Twitter and Facebook were not in existence and YouTube wasn’t as popular. Culturally, consumers are valuing the need to be socially connected in the present day Internet.

The traditional cellular network cannot cope with the increase in data and signaling traffic that is generated and thus is driving carriers in the direction of offload. The Phase 1 approach was centered on immediately relieving congestion on the network by encouraging offload to any available Wi-Fi hotspot. In this second part of the five part offload series, we draw attention to Direct Internet Offload. The concept of Direct Internet Offload is nothing new, but has taken a slight shift considering Wi-Fi’s popularity. And the flexibility to integrate them into mainstream network design offers transformative opportunities for carriers without losing sight of the commitment to make the user experience secure and controlled.

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    Data Offload Survival Guide - Part 2 Data Offload Survival Guide - Part 2 Document Transcript

    • APPLICATION NOTEDATA OFFLOAD SURVIVAL GUIDE - PART 2 www.greenpacket.com
    • APPLICATION NOTEAbstractMobile networks are now dominated by data. If we rewind back to adecade ago, smartphones and application stores were unheard of. Twitterand Facebook were not in existence and YouTube wasn’t as popular.Culturally, consumers are valuing the need to be socially connected in thepresent day Internet. YouTube may seem like a trivial video platform, but donot undermine the amount of traffic it is capable of generating. There areover 3 billion hours of video that are watched each month on YouTube.The traditional cellular network cannot cope with the increase in data andsignaling traffic that is generated and thus is driving carriers in the directionof offload. The Phase 1 approach was centered on immediately relievingcongestion on the network by encouraging offload to any available Wi-Fihotspot. In this second part of the five part offload series, we draw attentionto Direct Internet Offload. The concept of Direct Internet Offload is nothingnew, but has taken a slight shift considering Wi-Fi’s popularity. The reality ofdata traffic being offloaded to a lower-cost network is achievable. And theflexibility to integrate them into mainstream network design offerstransformative opportunities for carriers without losing sight of thecommitment to make the user experience secure and controlled.Direct Internet Offload is another way of responding to the evolvingsmartphone data usage patterns. Most often, those sessions demonstratefrequent high burst throughput demanding low latency. Offload, whenexecuted correctly, can enable better user experience. The classicconfusion and misconceived idea of the offload environment should becorrected for the very reasons of innovation- changing the business modelsand driving it the right way to offer it to their customers.
    • APPLICATION NOTEContentsOverview 01Direct Internet Offload 02Who are the Stakeholders?Harnessing the Power of BehaviorJumpstart Direct Internet Offload 06Carrier Wi-Fi Build-outPartnering Wi-Fi AggregatorsExperience Offload the Greenpacket WayOffload and Quality of ServiceCarrier Wi-Fi and Open APIs Going Forward 12Conclusion 13Transform Your Network with Direct Internet Offload 14
    • APPLICATION NOTE Overview - 01OverviewMobile broadband represents the fastest-growing revenue stream forcarriers. The value of the mobile services market is forecast to expand to$976 billion by 2016, with the majority of growth stemming from mobilebroadband services. But the numbers do not add up and far from exhibitinga linear relationship between data traffic growth and data revenues. From arecent report by Infonetics1, the forecasts for mobile broadbandsubscribers will grow from 15% of the total mobile subscriber base in 2011to nearly 40% in 2016. And by that, it means there is a window ofopportunity that carriers should tap into.The speed of video, data and applications appearing and bombarding thenetworks will eventually level out, but before carriers arrive at that inflectionpoint, it is critical to find ways to satisfy their customers now. Services arebecoming more varied and fragmented, that subscribers need not rely ontraditionally guarded services that carriers used to provide. The emergenceof over-the-top (OTT) gives subscriber other means to be sociallyinter-connected. On top of that, subscriber behavior is now more real-timeand driven by content and content is quickly clogging up the pipelineswithout the boundaries of a fixed location, but all over.As devices become “smarter” and more sophisticated, understandingexactly how consumers are using their smartphone is proving to be morechallenging than previous generations of handsets. Carriers must nowmove faster and re-define the meaning of experience, moving away fromthe conservative practices. The connected world presents its own set ofchallenges, ranging across issues of network management, experiencemanagement, privacy and security threats. Despite these challenges,access to mobiles and the Internet is truly beginning to unlock the power ofwireless technology to unite 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and LTE networks. Carriers areaware that in order to offer sustainable network and differentiation theyneed to leverage on offload methods to enable service innovation and helpreduce capital and operating expenses through the convergence of3G-Wi-Fi wherever possible. 1Source : Infonetics Research, 2G,3G,4G(LTE) Services and Subscribers : Voice, SMS/MMS, and Broadband Report
    • APPLICATION NOTE Direct Internet Offload - 02Direct Internet OffloadCarriers have deliberated on Wi-Fi for many years and only in recent yearshave carriers warmed-up to Wi-Fi as a viable option to provide immediaterelieve over issues of network congestion. Nevertheless, the success of anyoffload strategy with Wi-Fi very much depends on the ease of experience itbrings to their subscribers. Wi-Fi offload can take several forms to realize.It can be a tightly coupled deployment, where the carriers exercise full policycontrol with granular visibility over the types of service the subscribersaccess and consider an integrated billing and charging architecture.In other instances, Wi-Fi offload can be less stringent, where it is looselycoupled to the carrier’s core architecture as termed by Direct InternetOffload which results in data traffic being passed direct to the Internetomitting visibility of the subscriber. This form of offload is intended forcarriers to divert traffic away from the mobile network. Most often,the Internet bound traffic has little or zero-revenue value to some extent.Instead of paying to carry the traffic, it makes more sense to breakout assoon as possible. As a result, carriers can moderate the core networkinvestments as traffic increases.
    • APPLICATION NOTE Direct Internet Offload - 03Who are the Stakeholders?Today, users expect a little more from their service providers; they expecttheir network to be smart enough to recognize the type of device and thetype of networks on which they are consuming content with the same levelof personalized service and quality assurances regardless. Also, the issueof a value price plan is highly important for them to have added knowledgethat their data costs will not go up the roof, as the all-you-can eat buffetplans are no longer offered.When is the right time for carriers to take cue in implementing Direct InternetOffload and the impact it causes? It is quite obvious the data offloadmovement is ready for market, suggestive that carriers are beginning toshift mindsets of seeing Wi-Fi as a threat to a complementary technologythat can help build positive experiences. As such, the offload movement istaking ideas and integrating them into the mainstream mobile networktechnology as a service-led initiative which is characterized by experience.A carefully orchestrated strategy can work its best to delight the users andhelp carriers realize better cost control, expand reach and be competitiveas illustrated in Table 1.Table 1 : Strategic aims for a successful offload strategy End-user Experience Service Provider Objective Seamless Increase capacity and coverage Simple Optimize core assets Secure Improve customer experience High Bandwidth Expand revenue opportunity
    • APPLICATION NOTE Direct Internet Offload - 04Harnessing the Power of BehaviorThere are several angles that carrier should focus, when deciding toharness the power of the Direct Internet Offload. The first step is to ensureWi-Fi offload becomes a more controlled action on the carrier’s part – givingassurance of high quality experience regardless of cellular or Wi-Fi networkto the subscriber as part of an early Wi-Fi strategy. And thus, serviceproviders need to be more agile and inventive to capture untappedcustomers, retain existing customers and upsell other relevant productsand services.Given the average user on the street, they are unlikely to pause for a momentto decide which technology would best deliver the latest YouTube video ofJustin Bieber. They are more concerned whether the quality of streamingand speed of downloads get to their device for sharing, viewing or whichevermanner they want to use the content. Questions pertinent to carriers, whenstarting out with offload should be assessed practically from:• Who are the heaviest smartphone users?• How do consumers use Wi-Fi hotspots with their smartphone?• What instances do consumers favor Wi-Fi over 3G cellular?• How does usage behavior change when consumers roam internationally and which customers are captured and which ones are lost? Smartphone users who do not use data Smartphone users (7%) with cellular data enabled (82%) Wi-Fi Smartphone users that Cellular only use both cellular and Wi-Fi only (11%) (64%) (18%) Smartphone users All Smartphone with Wi-Fi enabled (75%) users (100%)Source : Analysis Mason and Arbitron Mobile, 2012**n=1007; some respondents may have had cellular or Wi-Fi enabled but did not use the connectivity within the observation period.Figure 1 : Smartphone usage split for cellular and Wi-Fi
    • APPLICATION NOTE Direct Internet Offload - 05Almost all smartphones today are Wi-Fi-capable. A study conducted byAnalysis Mason in 2011 concluded, 75% of the smartphone sampled panelused Wi-Fi, with 82% of the panel used cellular data. It is observed, mostpanelists (64%) used both networks but a number of consumers (18%) didnot use cellular data at all. The reasons are not entirely clear, perhaps someuse smartphone mainly for the sake of having a sophisticated device,or some use it sparingly with a non-data contract or on a prepaid basis,relying on Wi-Fi (or in some cases nothing at all) for data connectivity. Whatdoes the study outcome indicate? From the figures gathered, it seems thatusers welcome the use of Wi-Fi whenever available. The slight difference ofusers using cellular data likely preferred the ease of use although slightly morecostly or possibly due to the perceived lack of security. A recent Forrester2survey found that 93% of companies consider customer experience astrategic priority with over 75% with plans in place to achieve that goal. Isyour network ready to support and engage your customers; the hyperconnected, on-the-go mobile users, or the occasional user? With the rightknowledge, tools and conditions, carriers can now source key data, frommultiple dimensions, in real time, to help them reach more informedconclusions. 2Source : "The State Of Customer Experience, 2012," April 24, 2012, Forrester Research, Inc”.
    • APPLICATION NOTE Jumpstart Direct Internet Offload - 06Jumpstart Direct Internet OffloadThe RAN offload and core network offload is not mutually exclusive butinter-linked in the sense of managing the incremental investment on bothends of the coin with Internet peering and transport costs getting moreexpensive. Also, the SGSN and GGSN traditionally were not built for suchunexpected capacity growth. Incremental upgrades of the core networkcan be a very costly affair and may not be fully supported in some parts.Carriers have implemented in their cellular architecture by diverting trafficover to the Internet direct by bypassing the packet core gateway of thecarrier network through a direct tunnel technique. Some carriers break-outtraffic without retaining visibility of their subscribers.Carriers can now turn to Wi-Fi in the context of Direct Internet Offload andstill keep tabs on their subscribers by providing a secured connection forthe subscriber and at the same time allows offloading of the core network.Rather than a complete network bypass, carriers can retain some level ofvisibility of the subscriber whilst they work on branding their own Wi-Fi serviceinto their service mix and capturing market share for service expansion. PDG IMS, Ringtones, SGSN Enterprise VPN GGSN AAA2G/3G RAN Wi-Fi Access Gateway Wi-FiFigure 2 : Direct Internet Offload with Carrier Wi-Fi
    • APPLICATION NOTE Jumpstart Direct Internet Offload - 07Wi-Fi helps to mitigate traffic growth that would otherwise overload thecellular network in busy areas, leading to reduced quality of experience.However, if the Wi-Fi connection is not controlled by the operator, thenthere is a risk of disintermediation – carriers have less of an incentive tocarry non-revenue generating traffic destined for the Internet. Whysubsidize it through expensive core network platform that is alreadyoperating at its maximum capacity - if the device is accessing content fromexternal networks. Since carriers are interested to use Wi-Fi to help manageovercrowding, it makes sense to offload onto their own Wi-Fi hotspotswherever possible. Depending on the strategy and business needs of thecarrier, carrier Wi-Fi deployment can take several phases and may requiresome investments to bring in additional Wi-Fi gateways and aggregators tomanage the interfacing towards the carrier’s core network.Carrier Wi-Fi Build-OutFor a start, carriers can build-out their own Wi-Fi hotspots in areas to servecritical capacity boost and expand further as the network grows to reachubiquity. Directly having control over the quality of the network performanceand accountability for the user experience. Some of the leading telcos suchas Telefonica, AT&T and China Mobile ensure secure and trusted Wi-Ficonnection through a standardized EAP802.1X authentication support. It ispreferred for carriers to promote carrier Wi-Fi architecture for variousreasons; added advantage of ease of common authentication without theneed of external interface integration works.Additionally, carriers retain ownership of subscriber and help lay thefoundations to successful Wi-Fi access revenues according to the degreeof integration it achieves. And by full integration, it means charging, billing,service provisioning are all sorted and in order. By encouraging a morediverse pool of platform support, carriers can deliver more content-basedservices. Carriers’ realization that more willingness to open selectApplication Programming Interfaces (APIs) can be a win-win situation forboth the operators and OTT developers, as they seek wider distributionchannels to these highly sought after consumer experiences. Combinedwith the attempts to bring down the barriers for inter-roaming, is indeed alucrative proposition that carriers should not miss out on.
    • APPLICATION NOTE Jumpstart Direct Internet Offload - 08Depending on the business model of paid versus free Wi-Fi service to beoffered to their subscribers, carriers can exercise due diligence to betterunderstand when and where intermediary cross-over Wi-Fi will become realrevenue potential. By then, carriers can recoup the investment by pricingWi-Fi access in gradations. Of course, such initiatives require someexperimentation, but some forward looking carriers like Verizon and AT&Tare already taking the lead.Partnering Wi-Fi AggregatorsIf building-out carrier owned Wi-Fi hotspot is not within the carrier networkplans for reasons beyond CAPEX investments, partnering Wi-Fiaggregators and providers would be another option. However, there areseveral drawbacks in this strategy; requiring inter-network mediation,inter-operability, integration and to some extent managed services likewholesale models which add to operational costs in the long run.Given the nature of partnering, it is of utmost importance to have atechnically and commercially capable team to drive the simplification ofnetwork and anticipate the difficulties encountered when dealing withdisparate networks and risk of IPR conflicts. On the flip side, partneringgives total freedom from regulatory restrictions on operating a hotspot,if any. Quick access to expanded coverage and familiarity with establishedhotspot can accelerate the roll-out of value-added service. Of course, thiswill come with getting the right business models, be it revenue sharing,leasing or through some form of advertising. Independent of whichimplementation, carriers stand to benefit from a well planned offloadstrategy to consolidate their infrastructure to open up opportunities invalue-added service like location-based service, mobile wallet and so forth.The degree of visibility and control that carriers want to enforce is highlydependent on the readiness of the network and business objectives.
    • APPLICATION NOTE Jumpstart Direct Internet Offload - 09Experience Offloadthe Greenpacket WayTo benefit from offload, carriers must have the right conditions todifferentiate between a user-driven offload and carrier-driven offload.In Greenpacket’s device-client solution, it ensures subscriber is securelyauthenticated to the Wi-Fi network via EAP802.1x authentication methodsto deliver a positive effect on the subscriber as the authentication isautomatic, transparent, seamless and secure, without changing the waythe subscribers interact with their device in the offload environment. Also,it works with any WPA or WPA2 enabled access point, making it a readilyavailable solution.Whether building-out Wi-Fi completely on their own or partnering ISPs orWi-Fi aggregators to share network resources, carriers are seeing it topragmatic practice to have Wi-Fi in their mix of services. It makes sense totake a proactive approach, as they hold the key to the billing relationship totheir customers. Table 2 below summarizes the Wi-Fi experience from auser interaction with their device.Table 2 : Changing Expectations of Wi-Fi Experience Wi-Fi Experience Previously Wi-Fi Experience Now Wi-Fi Experience Tomorrow User unaware of network Intuitive and informative Global Wi-Fi access conditions and changes notifications with Wi-Fi directory Manual configurations that Automated selection and Instant-on are confusing easy to configure Static policy Dynamic policy Advanced policy management and QoS aware Interrupted experience when Seamless experience during Full mobility and roaming connecting and and after switching disconnecting Wi-Fi
    • APPLICATION NOTE Jumpstart Direct Internet Offload - 10Given that EAP802.1X authentication is supported and enabled in mostnative devices, it is good governance to maintain the subscriber relationshipin the Wi-Fi environment, wherever possible. It’s quite obvious for thereasons of data cost control and availability of higher bandwidth, becomesattractive to the subscribers. For the carriers, its motivation is largely to easecongestion and ensure offload execution is ideally over carrier-owned Wi-Fiso that the treatment of fundamental carrier core network integration ismade easier to the Authorization, Authentication & Accounting (AAA) serverwhich is primarily responsible for managing the subscriber relationship tothe carrier network such as access rights, service provisioning, user profileand accounting interface. Other attributes that are important to userexperience includes the automation of network selection and switchingprotocols and to a certain extent QoS control.Carriers wanting to take offload to another level can likely focus on theability to promote carrier subscribed content and extend policy control. Thisdiscussion is beyond the breadth of this paper, but will be featured in thesubsequent Phase 3 of this Offload series. More progressive carriers willattempt to make better use of technologies such as access networkdiscovery and selection function (ANDSF) and policy control to betterdetermine where and when to connect. Also, to integrate better thecommon provisioning of service, billing and roaming to be much easierbetween the carrier network and Wi-Fi. Further to 3GPP specifications,more ambitious techniques like Selective IP Traffic Offload (SIPTO) and IPFlow Mobility (IFOM) are introduced and sees more of its role played out infuture mobile broadband networks.
    • APPLICATION NOTE Jumpstart Direct Internet Offload - 11Offload and Quality of ServiceCarriers in search of added value proposition in Wi-Fi are increasingly aware ofthe necessity of quality of service (QoS) management. As carriers continue toseek ways to reduce OPEX, boost ARPU and improve the customerexperience, on-device self-service problem resolution has the potential to allowcarriers to differentiate their services from those of the competitors.Greenpacket’s device-client is more than just an enabler of offload andconnectivity management. It builds on the user experience by supportingpartially QoS measures such as crowd-sourcing feedback to provide a clearerview of the performance of the Wi-Fi access points (AP), prior to offload.Simply enforcing fixed rules and device policies to aid offload may seem like asimple and effective method, but could it risk making the user experienceworse than before? The approach that Greenpacket uses is more dynamic byperiodically taking samples of the current connected access points and itsrelated device information to be reported to a central Reporting Server that canbe hosted in the carrier’s network and integrated with the Analytic Server. Theinformation collected is further scrutinized and feedback to the core networkfor improved offload policy definition. By doing so, the device-client connectsto the best Wi-Fi based on current environment, location, time of day and Wi-FiAP status.
    • APPLICATION NOTE Carrier Wi-Fi and Open APIs Going Forward - 12Carrier Wi-Fi andOpen APIs Going ForwardHaving better control over congestion doesn’t stop at effective offloadstrategies. It is not enough for carriers to stop at offload, but to continue withinnovations. Unlocking the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) is theway forward for managing multitude of partners with custom interfaces totheir network. Despite falling behind the likes of Apple, Amazon and Googlein capturing the heart of their customers, developers, content owners andcarriers can respond to the changes by adopting API models.Telecommunication industry is no longer a stand-alone business model. Thesources of applications and services are varied ranging from the carriers’,application developers, third party content owners and service providers,customer, both consumer and enterprise; and complementary web-basedservice providers. By implementing some kind of service exposure platform,carriers have the advantage to greatly reduce their time to market and gainfrom a common distribution channel with vast mindshare assets. The key toa successful productized solution is one that operates seamlessly anddelivers impartial services on a single platform; serves different types ofdevices being one of the key values.Some carriers argue that the business case with network APIs are difficult,and they risk commoditizing the core voice and messaging assets. But Tier1 carriers like Telefonica and Telecom Italia opening their APIs is a signal ofacceptance and willingness to enable open innovation and the future ofnetworks is about understanding emerging ecosystems.
    • APPLICATION NOTE Conclusion - 13ConclusionCarriers are restricted by the amount of spectrum resources and arechallenged economically to deliver the high performance services.Undoubtedly, mobile data is clogging up networks globally; interestingstatistics from Cisco predicts - global data traffic is projected to rise over 18fold between 2011 and 2016, growing at a CAGR of 78% to reach 10.8exabytes per month by 2016. But it can’t be said of similar revenue growth.There are a number of innovative concepts in both RAN and core networkoffload. In this paper, we discussed how a simple device-client solution fitsinto Wi-Fi and its role through Direct Internet Offload can help addresscongestion. Interestingly enough, operators that have implemented dataoffloading strategies generally do not suffer from negative implications,instead gain to benefit from it. The associated stigma to offloading is mainlyexacerbated by the carriers themselves, who refuse to have anything to dowith their networks perceived as congested by their customers. Congestionis real. To the consumers, it is not about how the service providers deliverthose services, via the latest access technology but why the experience isbetter? LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi whichever works.Wi-Fi used to be individually installed, unmanaged and doesn’t drivebehavior. It was an un-inspiring proposition in sporadic coverage thatbrought in zero value. How can carriers turn around a technology in pursuitof results? Simply change the way in which it operates and inspireengagement. It is only logical that new services will require new approachesto network design. Innovation usually starts out only to be dismissed beforeit gets widespread, just as Wi-Fi exemplifies this. Today, Wi-Fi is sopervasive, that it draws consumers in search of it. By combining thestrengths of Wi-Fi and translating it into the carrier’s network design, theapproach of Direct Internet Offload is capable of helping carrier’s pursuit ofmanaging better experiences. The need for a broader view of offload isnecessary to promote further formal standards development and bestpractices to emerge from actual deployments.
    • APPLICATION NOTE Transform Your Network with Direct Internet Offload - 14Transform Your Network withDirect Internet OffloadMake Carrier Wi-Fi a differentiator. The sense of offload is taking a renewedtwist and is entering mainstream adoption and networks no longer work insilo. What is needed is the ability to respond with openness to take ideas andintegrate them to transform mobile network design to reap in revenues.Turn your challenges into opportunities as we progressively approach thestrategies for data offload to suit your needs.Embark on a journey with Greenpacket to discover the value-add ofoffloading and start realizing the possibilities for growth.With Greenpacket, you bring value to your subscribers and become theirpartner of communication needs.Free ConsultationIf you would like a free consultation on how you can leverage data offloadsolutions for enhanced network performance and user experience, feel freeto contact us at marketing.gp@greenpacket.com. Kindly quote thereference code, SAP0812-P2 when you contact us.
    • For more information on Greenpacket’s products and solutions, Associateplease contact us at marketing.gp@greenpacket.com MemberSan Francisco · Kuala Lumpur · Singapore · Shanghai · Taiwan · Sydney · Bahrain · Bangkok · Hong Kong ©Copyright 2001-2012 Green Packet Berhad. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language, in anyform by any means, without the written permission of Green Packet Berhad. Green Packet Berhad reserves the right to modify or discontinue any product or piece of literature at anytime without prior notice.