Seven Networks to work with Intel on mobile network technologies

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Seven Networks announced that it is collaborating with Intel Corp. on mobile network technologies based on Seven’s Open Channel software that is designed to help operators reduce and manage app data traffic and optimize their networks.

“We feel that Intel has the potential to be a major player in the mobile market, and that Seven’s experience with wireless network and traffic optimization complements the company’s vast technology and experience in complex systems and networks,” said Ross Bott, Seven’s president and CEO in a statement.

Bott told RCR that he hoped “to be able to unveil additional pieces and talk more about this” in the future.

While declining to describe specifics of the collaboration, Bott noted that “as we see the traditional PC market begin to evolve more toward tablets and other mobile devices, Intel, of course, really needs to be in the center of the space. … At the same time, what we [at Seven]do requires deeper understanding of mobile devices. It’s going to be our responsibility to be very knowledgeable about all of the interactions of devices, how they’re developing, how standards factor in — and so we need to be close to the the key device designers.

“We absolutely see it as a huge benefit to be working with Intel,” Bott added. “It’s enormously important to us.”

Seven’s solutions are deployed with major carriers on five continents. As Bott describes it, the company’s Open Channel network solution products are designed to “build a set of technologies below and transparent to applications, that allow the app market to continue to evolve, and for all app developers to not have to worry about or think about what mobile radio they’re on.”

“All [app developers]want to do is focus on getting more users, and being as real-time and updated as possible as far as the information they’re providing to subscribers, and not think about whether they’re messing up the network,” Bott said.

The company recently launched a new release of its Open Channel network optimization product that bucks the trend of recent attention given to software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV), by adding a network box rather than taking one away.

Mike Wendling,  VP of product management at Seven, said that although the company offers a cloud-based hosted solution, its operator customers wanted an option for optimization to be an in-network box for large-scale, long-term use — which Seven has now introduced.

Wendling described operators’ requests as “the cloud is great, we love the cloud because it’s easy to deploy. But for optimization so core to the network, and so important, we really are interested in the control that we get through bringing it in the network.”

The plug-and-play system is designed to fit on two single-rack unit servers for initial deployment, with additional servers able to be added to scale to tens of millions of users.

The product family also includes additional intelligence for Wi-Fi offload, which Seven acquired when it bought SNRLabs several months ago.

Wendling said that today, Wi-Fi is an all-or-nothing proposition — that if a user or carrier doesn’t configure the device to opt in to Wi-Fi service, it doesn’t — and if one or the other does, the device always chooses Wi-Fi even if quality of experience would be better on the macro cellular network. Wendling said that Seven’s solution “adds some intelligence to this decision — look at all network access options, assess which one has the best performance at a given time, and use that network.”

SEVEN Networks Open Channel software products include a client component and a server component. This diagram illustrates the recently announced plug-and-play in-network deployment model for the server component. Regardless of the server deployment model, the Open Channel client extends carrier control to the mobile client. Click for larger version. Graphic courtesy of SEVEN Networks.

About Author

Kelly Hill

Editor, Big Data, Analytics, Test & Measurement
khill@rcrwireless.com
Kelly Hill currently reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr