Openwave Mobility comes with cross-functional expertise around sales, pre-sales, product management, engineering, professional services and global customer support teams. The company is already getting firmly entrenched in the telecoms domain by successfully conducting large-scale trials, both bare-metal and on virtual fabric.
We speak with Indranil Chatterjee, Senior Vice President and Kishor Panpaliya, VP of Americas and APAC, Openwave Mobility – about the company’s key focus areas today and its future plans.
What are the core priorities of the company today? Please share your go-to-market strategy in India?
We have invested heavily in building a self-sufficient centre of excellence in Pune, Maharashtra. We have cross-functional expertise including sales, pre-sales, product management, engineering, professional services and global customer support teams. Multiple tier 1 operators in India have already experienced the benefits of deploying or trialling our video traffic management and TCP acceleration solutions. We are also engaging with other SE Asian telcos by successfully conducting large-scale trials, both bare-metal and on virtual fabric.
Our strategy for the Indian market is two-fold. Firstly, we intend to leverage our global Tier 1 deployment expertise and our major local presence to create a win-win scenario for Indian network operators with our tried-and-tested all-IP traffic management and cloud data management solutions. Secondly, we have mature OEM relationships with major network infrastructure vendors who have significant market share in India and are actively engaged in migrating the packet core domain to NFV. Openwave Mobility solutions have been pre-integrated and certified as VNFs within their platforms, offering our Indian operator customers an alternate choice to procure our solutions.
There is a price war going on in India between operators involving free or incentivized data, which is causing a hockey stick type of growth in mobile data consumption. Approximately 70 percent of this data consumption is streaming video traffic amounting to more than 1.65 billion hours per month. On occasions such as an IPL cricket final, almost 10+ million concurrent streaming users on mobile networks can cause congestion and video buffering – which adversely impacts subscriber QoE.
What makes managing this data even more complicated is that it’s all encrypted. We aim to empower Indian telecom operators, so they can prepare and manage the growing tide of encrypted data and network congestion, while maintaining QoE, maximize RAN efficiency and overall profitability. We are the market leaders in our domain with more than 40+ Tier 1 mobile operators worldwide, and we can leverage that expertise in India to help both operators and their subscribers.
5G trials have begun and the way data is managed in 5G demands a completely new perspective. In your opinion, how are telecom operators in India geared for cloud data management?
Operators in India, like anywhere else in the world, will be faced with ‘stateless’ services in 5G – i.e. services that do not store data from one session to the next. They instead rely on common external data management. 5G’s service-based architecture means that operators require a data layer that can store diverse data like fast changing session data to long lasting subscription data. Mobile operators and vendors alike are only just realizing that efficient and ultra-reliable access to subscriber data is a core function that all virtualized applications (VNFs) will demand.
Mobile operators require a specialized, 5G data layer solution that can efficiently store data within memory, disk, one data center or multiple in distributed architecture. Operators can benefit from configurable data residency; data replication and integrity check policies to strike the balance between performance, resiliency, recovery and TCO for different sets of data, while gaining a unified view of their subscribers.
Mobile operators must be able to selectively replicate data as needed seamlessly, so it eases the creation of 5G slices and stateless core services, and delivers data at the edge for performance-sensitive, ultra-reliable low latency applications.
As mobile video content grows drastically and with tremendous increase in video traffic on mobile networks, telecom operators are facing new challenges. What strategies should operators in India adopt?
We have seen a direct correlation between the price wars happening in some countries and the exponential rise of mobile data, particularly video streaming services. For some Indian operators the situation is so alarming that they are running their network at more than 90 percent capacity.
Moreover, as HD mobile video consumption continues to climb, network operators need to allocate three to four times more bandwidth to accommodate the traffic, versus, what standard video traffic would require. As a result, capacity constraints are stressing many of today’s mobile networks, causing acute congestion and impacting the operators’ ability to deliver quality service. Considering that many mobile subscribers now say, video quality is more important than voice calls – operators could face increasing churn if they cannot take control of their networks and maintain mobile Quality of Experience.
Operators in India can get immediate ROI by deploying traffic management tools that ensure the ultra-efficient use of radio resources and maximise network capacity. This can be achieved without sacrificing the end-user experience. A good example is QoE-aware optimisation of video streaming traffic that actually delivers a buffer-free experience for subscribers, while reducing network stress.
A number of telecom operators have turned to NFV/SDN to manage the data / video traffic. What challenges do operators face while deploying NFV?
There is a general assumption that the primary impetus for deploying NFV is cost-cutting. The basic thinking can be summarized as “we’ll implement NFV across the entire network, and then we’ll save hardware costs”. This linear approach creates a huge array of complex, interconnected problems, which slows down the process. To make changes to network elements, infrastructure and processes, simultaneously leaves too great a potential for failure. For an industry traditionally based on reliability, resilience and high availability, the risks of this approach are too high. A number of operators, however, have already seen positive results. They have focused on virtualization at the core while adding a small number of agility-increasing or revenue-generating services through VNFs. In this way, operators can build out small instances of NFV that will improve agility or deliver new revenues
5G technologies will give rise to a new wave of mobile data – highly diverse than 4G. How does this impact encryption and QoE?
Secure protocols over 4G such as Google’s QUIC and Facebook’s 0-RTT have darkened networks and operators are unable to manage subscriber QoE with conventional optimization. Currently, on 4G networks, there is around 60% – 80% of traffic that is encrypted. When subscribers suffer poor QoE, they churn – and that adversely impacts the operator’s bottom line. Once 5G gets widely deployed, video is forecasted to remain central to many or even most new applications. 5G will stimulate completely new user experiences including six degrees of freedom (6DoF) and AR/VR applications. Applications will be chained together to create new services e.g. combining IoT, smart cities and video distribution. Network slicing will enable enterprise wide video applications e.g. transmission from a downtown office to an isolated oil rig. Higher bandwidth and lower latency means 5G will enable new and efficient means for video broadcasting e.g. transmitting live content to large scale audiences – most 4G networks do not meet latency standards for live broadcasts. This new wave of mobile data will be 100% encrypted. Unless operators have the ability to manage encrypted traffic, subscriber QoE will be unmanageable.
In India, telcos are busy preparing the architecture for their 5G networks and overall CAPEX and OPEX planning. How do you see the rollout happening?
In India, we don’t see true 5G realisation happening until at least 2020 – that’s real 5G speeds. The economics of 5G investment, coupled with government policy, spectrum allocation, readiness of standards etc. are just some of the issues for 5G deployment. However, telcos have already started modernizing their network infrastructure to accommodate the coverage and data capacity needed. They are trying to ensure that the next generation of radio and core network infrastructure is rolled out – staying true to the 5G principles.
For example, the core network is getting distributed towards edge which helps reduce latency, improve the customer’s internet experience and reduce transport costs. Due to the exponential rise in data traffic, operators can no longer afford to route the data traffic centrally and hence the strategy to cache, optimise and monetize at the edge. Infrastructure in these edge data centres is being built with cloud technologies like NFV and SDN which will make it 5G ready.