Tuesday, July 5, 2011

BBTM Part 4:TIM & BitTorrent

TIM
Telecom Italy is facing the same issue most mature operators see today:
  • Mobile video traffic is growing explosively, threatening to overcome current capacity
  • LTE is a few years away and requires a completely new network overlay
  • The introduction of tablets and smartphone is accelerating the phenomenon
Additionally, TIM is lobbying GSMA to implement fast dormancy directives so that device manufacturers and apps can optimize signalling by batch sending messages rather than on an ad hoc basis.
End to end QoS via CDN interconnection and QoS guaranteed on a private backbone (IPX) is high on their agenda for video services.

TIM is answering these issues in a somewhat classic manner, introducing fair usage caps (daily, monthly), throttling, video optimization and policy management. The innovative part is in the introduction of tiered QoS (speed, duration) per class of service, urging the subscribers to select the speed and capacity the most adapted to their current or projected usage.


An interesting data point from TIM's presentation is related to signalling congestion. In many cases, signalling is as much an issue as actual bandwidth in congested network. Signalling is not only a function of the number of subscribers in a cell, but also the type of device and type of apps being used. For instance, Angry Birds on Android  represents a +351% signalling increase compared to the iOS version, due to in-app advertising. The app polls and displays an ad at each level change, creating signalling overload.

 
 
BitTorrent
Eric Klinker, CEO of BitTorrent, walked in the room like a man with a target on his back. Seen as many as a powerful threat to the business model of content owners and telcos globally, BitTorrent is now advocating the use of their technology (mTorrent) as a highly scalable, secure way to transfer files, with a priority.
The plan for world domination means the replacement of TCP by P2P transfer, to allow capacity for the rest of the traffic.

 

What is interesting, is that BitTorrent has worked and is looking to work increasingly with carriers to help with P2P bandwidth consumption and traffic steering. For instance, in New Zealand,  BitTorrent works with Telecom New Zealand to prioritize to prioritize peer traffic on the island, reducing offshore traffic and associated costs .
Another example of opportunities for policies to transcend the core network, towards content and app providers.

2 comments:

Gary Rieschick said...

Patrick,

Nice blog, the gap for most all PCRF vendors today is that they have essentially no visibility or control capabilities caused by applications that cause the excessive amounts of active/dormant transitions (device signaling congestion). The good news is that device to PCRF communication will happen at some point in the near future and create some opportunities to control excessive apps like AngryBirds. :)

The second part about BitTorrent is a good data point that shows the new trend of OTT content providers (and file sharing apps) are beginning to collaborate with operators. There's been several announcements lately indicating a major shift towards more two sided business models, etc.

Lots of exciting things happening and again nice blog.

-gjr

Patrick Lopez said...

Thanks Gary,

I completely agree that there is some work to be done by the industry for congestion, QoS, QoE indications and policies to flow between RAN, core, backhaul and the content providers.