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Helping Mobile Operators Flatten The World

June 12, 2012 by Ixia Blog Team

The world is flat, as Thomas Friedman puts it, and telecommunication technology is one of the forces flattening the world. The global adoption of 4G LTE is a good example of such flattening technology. It will deliver unprecedented levels of globally mobile bandwidth to consumers and new sources of revenues for mobile operators. However, there are some universal challenges as well for mobile operators. One such challenge is visibility into the new IP-based network. Fortunately, there are solutions to the visibility challenge. In fact, Anue Systems, a leader in network visibility solutions and now a part of Ixia, Inc., announced this week that it has expanded its family of carrier-grade network monitoring switches with the Anue Net Tool Optimizer® (NTO) 5293. It helps mobile carriers gain end-to-end visibility into their 4G LTE network.

While the world’s industrial powers are not the same, we have increasingly more in common globally and we are increasingly globally connected. In a previous blog , my colleague, Carla Swenson, mentioned how she thought Melbourne, Australia resembled Austin Texas. I was recently in Beijing, China for Cisco Plus and to my eyes Beijing is very much like any modern city anywhere in the world. However, this commonality is more than in city architecture. It is also in how we communicate and stay connected. Telecommunication technology is an important force enabling ubiquitous connectivity. For example, when I was in Beijing I purchased a SIM card at a magazine stand for my GSM phone. With my local phone number I was able to stay in touch with work and home, even though I was thousands of miles away from both. Telecommunication enables us to exchange ideas and stay connected regardless of physical distances.

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Figure 1: Beijing, China

The 4G LTE is the next generation of telecommunication technology to increase the level of connectivity. The uptake of LTE is a global phenomenon. The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) calls LTE “the fastest developing mobile system technology ever.” To us consumers, this means broadband in the palm of our hands wherever we may be in the world. To mobile carriers, this means a cost-effective data network and new opportunities to generate revenue.

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“You cannot run a network if you cannot see what is going on”

However, the 4G LTE benefits do not come without challenges for mobile operators. One of the challenges with the new IP-based network is gaining visibility into the network. Mobile operators understand that you cannot deliver on the LTE bandwidth and quality of service promises if you cannot see what is going on in the packet core. They also understand that the best practice is to use network monitoring tools to gain end-to-end visibility into the network. But, doing so is complex to the point of being impractical. The complexity is in that there are a large number of interfaces to monitor in the LTE core (EPC .) It is impractical to attach multiple monitoring tools to each interface. Fortunately, there is a solution to this visibility problem. The network monitoring switch technology enables mobile carriers to aggregate and optimize access to the evolved packet core interfaces for monitoring.

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5293 Net Tool Optimizer

This week Ixia introduced the NTO 5293, which is the industry’s first carrier-grade, high-density, high-bandwidth network monitoring switch, was introduced. The NTO 5293 enables mobile carriers to efficiently attach multiple network monitoring tools to a large number of 40G, 10G, and 1G interfaces. It joins the Ixia NTO 5273, which has been helping mobile carriers around the world gain visibility into their 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks. The Ixia NTO 5293 will help mobile carriers gain the end-to-end visibility they need to deliver on the LTE promise; world flattening broadband in the palm of your hands.