Seven Networks is adding to its Open Channel portfolio for mobile traffic management with a new analytics solution that looks at what the company considers the “real edge” of the network, the device experience at the user level.
Ross Bott, president and CEO of Seven, said that mobile carriers “continue to be much more comfortable living within their core network” and relying on network-based metrics to infer the experience the customer is having. He compared that approach to astronomy — taking careful measurements to gain understanding — versus space travel. Drive testing that can offer a snapshot of user conditions is expensive and time-consuming, he noted, and is often based on signal measurements as opposed to metrics based on real applications and real devices in use, across many locations at once.
Seven describes the new platform as providing “near real-time, historical and predictive per-user views of application, network, device and quality of experience (QoE) metrics” and said that the platform can provide intelligence on the effect of application and battery life on device battery life, the impacts of LTE rollout and Wi-Fi offload, network efficiency and connection failures by device and location and subscriber quality of experience by location and time of day and more. It is meant to be complementary to intelligence provided by a deep-packet inspection (DPI) approach, Bott said.
“We don’t see this as replacing DPI so much as being complementary, and to fill out the picture,” Bott said. He added that since the solution also is aware of which cell tower a device is using, it can provide location information even if a device’s GPS function is turned off. It also can provide usage statistics that, for instance, compare usage across Wi-Fi, 2g, 3G and LTE because it is device-based, so information is still available to the operator even when the user is not on a cellular network.
“It goes from being able to just watch in terms of network growth and overload, to being able to act on these things,” Bott said, describing how the solution might be used. “My network is not overloaded — it’s specific cells which are overloading, and it’s three three apps which are driving the overload. What can I do about?”
The client can be deployed as an OEM-embedded solution or a downloadable smartphone application, Bott said, depending on how mobile operators prefer to deploy.
Seven said that the edge analytics product is the “first of several planned products” for its Open Channel Edge line. Bott said that additional products will be introduced in the next few months.
“The device is the new edge of the network, and a software presence on the client is critical to providing the data that carriers require,” said Bott. He also emphasized that Seven’s analytics do not collect information on the actual content that is being passed over the network in order to allay fears about privacy.
“We’re interested in traffic patterns, because that’s what the carriers need for networking planning,” Bott said. “The information is really generic and not related to the specific user’s content.”