As wireless data usage climbs in 3G networks, especially with applications like video, there is a danger that an unseen blind spot in the carrier’s network could suffer serious congestion. That’s the view of Alcatel-Lucent, which says it has come up with a way of not only seeing that blind spot, but managing the traffic through it.
Mike Schabel, the general manager of the Alcatel Lucent project, says the blind spot exists between the radio access network (RAN) and the IP core. That’s because the IP core treats all of the data as mere packets, while the RAN requires immense resources for such uses as signaling.
“There is an intimate coupling on the wireless network between the application and the network itself, even though the bits are the same,” he says. “When you take an IP networking solution and mash it with the wireless network, you wind up with a set of tools that can’t see from the wireless to the IP network.”
Schabel says research by Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs shows some data intensive applications like VPN or video can use up to 1,000 times more wireless network resources than others. If that isn’t managed, it can lead to severe congestion, he says.
Alcatel Lucent thinks it has solved that blindness with its 9900 Wireless Network Guardian (WNG), designed to give network engineers insight into the gap between the two sides of the network and allow them to manage it. Canada’s Bell Mobility is the first announced carrier to test the solution, which will be shown off at the upcoming CTIA Wireless 2008 event.
The WNG connects usage sessions to actual wireless network resource consumption, giving carriers the ability to see and manage the impact IP-based applications have on their wireless networks, the company says.