5 Tips for Improving Quality of Service in Mobile Networks

By TechZone360 Special Guest
Meryl Robin, Director of Virtual Solutions, Radware
May 08, 2012

Imagine that you could improve your users’ quality of experience while reducing your costs.

Mobile operators are striving to satisfy the growing community of mobile data users and applications. Many analyst predict demand in mobile data traffic will increase tenfold in the next 4 years, with most of this growth driven by video. In fact, the past year has seen mobile broadband subscriptions grow by 60 percent, with growth projected from 900 million in 2011 to almost 5 billion in 2016.

Growing demand on the network means an increase in investment.  However, most mobile operators are facing a conflict between the growing need to spend more on their mobile data network vs. the declining ARPU (average revenue per user), which leads to either lower profit or reduced infrastructure budget. For the operator, this means the requirement for basic services must be more scalable and more cost efficient to handle declining ARPU and growing demand of the service.

Another factor which introduces additional expenses in the operator’s infrastructure is carrier-grade NAT, a fundamental element of mobile carriers, and the regulator’s requirement to log all activity from which the IP/device was originated. This requires massive logging from network equipment, which is not always designed for the work load logging requires.

Cost effective, integrated logging solutions can easily scale while utilizing existing resources in the most efficient way, ultimately to reduce OPEX and CAPEX.

One of the ways mobile operators are coping with the exploding growth of mobile data is that traffic must be optimized for use on mobile devices to reduce the amount of actual traffic flowing across the mobile network and to the Internet and other connected networks. Web page optimization, video traffic optimization, and caching are a must in delivering services to the end users’ devices. All of the aforementioned is already widely adopted with growing use in more and more mobile operations. Yet even these optimization solutions must be used in a smart and efficient manner to further reduce the mobile operator’s costs.

This can be achieved with smart load balancing and user/application-aware traffic redirection as provided by Radware’s MSE (Mobile Service Edge) solution. Not only does it make the service optimization infrastructure more efficient, it also enables simple capacity growth while ensuring the service maintains 7/24 availability. This is a key requirement for services which are in the gate of the internet access for all subscribers of the mobile network provider.

By efficiently using smart traffic redirection, you’ll be able to ensure only the relevant traffic will go through the optimization servers and, thus, reduce the amount of traffic to be handled. As a result, the network is more efficient and able to facilitate more users with the same existing infrastructure already in place (not all traffic should go through the optimization servers). With a well-tuned optimization network, only relevant traffic is steered to the relevant optimization service infrastructure.

  QoE can be improved with TCP protocol optimization enabling faster session starts and ongoing TCP connection handshakes, and through various mechanisms such as adjusting TCP parameters, increasing initial transmission window size, managing session acknowledgement, and error retransmission decisions. The result is a faster response time of mobile applications through faster TCP protocol flow.

With all of this said, we can improve mobile networks QoS with the following traffic steering capabilities:

  • Gi Traffic breakouts: Avoid irrelevant traffic following the mobile operator backbone and value added services (VAS) according to L4-L7 parameter, and immediately send it to the internet.
  • Avoid proxy chaining: Multi-flow (hair pining) capabilities
  • TCP protocol optimization: Reduce the number of TCP connections to VAS servers with TCP/ HTTP multiplexing capabilities. Using the MSE as a proxy handles the TCP connection for the user with the highest level of optimization and leverages its constant open TCP connections and multiplexing towards the VAS servers.
  • Enforce real time user aware and dynamic policies: Ensuring the mobile network resources are distributed according to the operator’s business policies – allowing differentiated SLAs and corresponding pricing for end users packages.
  • Proxy bypass : Offload traffic form WAP GW / IP GW

You do not need to imagine increased quality of experience on a declining budget any longer.  These five tips will help IT departments meet the increasing demands of the user community by addressing the real-life dilemma of doing more with less.

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