Thursday, September 15, 2011

Openet's Intelligent Video Management Solution

As you well know, I have been advocating closer collaboration between DPI,   policy management and video optimization for a while (here and here for instance). 

In my mind, most carriers have had to deal in majority with transactional traffic in data until video came along. There are some fundamental differences between managing transactional and flow-based data traffic.The quality of experience of a video service depends as much from the intrinsic quality of the video than the way that video is being delivered.

In a mobile network, with a daisy chain of proxies and gateways (GGSN, DPI, browsing gateway, video optimization engine, caching systems...), the user experience of a streamed video is only going to be as good as the lowest common denominator of that delivery chain.

Gary Rieschick, Director – Wireless and Broadband Solutions at Openet spoke with me today about the Intelligent Video Management Solution launched this week.
"Essentially, as operators are investing in video optimization solutions, they have been asking how to manage video delivery across separate enforcement points. Some vendors are supporting Gx, other are supporting proprietary extensions or proprietary protocols. Some of these vendors have created quality of experience metrics as well, that are used locally, for static rule based video optimization."
Openet has been working with two vendors in the video optimization space to try and harmonize video optimization methods with policy management. For instance, depending on the resulting quality of a video after optimization, the PCRF could decide to zero rate that video if the quality was below a certain threshold.

The main solution features highlighted by Gary are below:
  • Detection of premium content: The PCRF can be aware of agreements between the content provider and operator and provisioned with rules to prioritize or provide better quality to certain content properties.
  • Content prioritization: based on time of day, congestion detection
  • Synchronization of rules across policy enforcement points to ensure for instance that the throttling engine at the DPI level and at the video optimization engine level do not clash.
  • Next hop routing, where the PCRF can instruct the DPI to toute the traffic within the operator network based on what the traffic is (video, mail, P2P...)
  • Dynamic policies to supplement and replace static rules provision in video optimization engine to be reactive to network congestion indications, subscriber profile, etc...

I think it is a good step taken by Openet to take some thought leadership in this space. Operators need help to create a carefully orchestrated delivery chain for video. 
While Openet's solution might work well with a few vendors, i think though, that a real industry effort in standardization is necessary to provide video specific extensions to Gx policy interface.
Delivering and optimizing video in a wireless network results in destructive user experience whenever the control plane enabling feedback on congestion, original video quality, resulting video quality, device and network capabilities is not shared across all policy enforcement and policy decision points.

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