LTE networks NEED intelligent Traffic Detection Function (TDF). Based on Deep Packet Inspection technology (DPI), it provides the ability to identify data flows in real-time and to leverage that information in order to enforce Quality of Service (QoS) and charging policies. Speed and the amount of gigabytes consumed were the initial parameters of LTE data consumption but the world is swiftly moving on. More personalized, value-add LTE ‘experiences’ will differentiate one Communication Service Provider (CSP) from another. To provide these experiences, Policy Control and Charging (PCC) functionality is a necessity, as I pointed out on my LTE Conference Blog this month.
So if this is the case, what do you need to know when selecting a method of TDF implementation? Firstly, be aware that Intelligent TDF solutions can be implemented in one of two ways:
A Pure-play TDF solution comprises a dedicated, in-line network element that communicates with a policy server (PCRF) and online/offline charging systems. It employs DPI and other techniques to identify subscriber-application traffic and enable policy-based QoS and charging actions to be enforced on the traffic flows in real time. Enforcement actions include traffic shaping and traffic steering to various network and subscriber services.
An Embedded TDF solution integrates some sort of DPI capability to an existing network element such as a Packet Data Network Gateway (PGW) that is already performing fundamental network tasks, such as establishing and managing connections, service flow detection, traffic shaping, and basic charging.
How different can they be you might be asking at this point? Well, actually – quite a bit. Which is where focus comes in. Let’s look at the three most important ones, shall we? Functionality, Value Added Services and Convergence. Here are the facts at a glance:
On all three parameters, a focused, pure-play TDF scores significantly higher than the embedded version. On these and a range of others. Of course, LTE operators need to define their objectives around TDF implementation and make their choice based on these criteria. Here is a diagram to show you how a pure-play TDF solution works across converged networks:
The choice is yours but if you want to maximize the benefits of…
…then focus is what you need to have.
For a more in-depth analysis of the TDF implementation choice and to find out how TDF in LTE drives Next-Gen LTE Pricing Models, click here. Enjoy the read!