Mobile Data Offload


Mobile operators are constantly exploring ways to improve their data services experience. The growth of Wi-Fi devices & hotspots, particularly in congested urban centers, has prompted operators to consider exploiting the technology to offload traffic from their mobile networks.

 

Inventum provides muliple products that may be used by mobile carriers (2G, 3G & 4G LTE) to seamlessly offload data traffic to the Wi-Fi network.

 

Why Offload

The top reason cited for offloading traffic to Wi-Fi is spectrum congestion in the mobile network. However, different operators have different motivations.

  • Higher Access Speeds – particularly in 2G networks & also in congested 3G locations.
  • Lower Cost per Byte Delivered – any traffic delivered over Wi-Fi will inevitably be cheaper as there is no spectrum cost whatsoever.
  • Compete with 4G – for those operators who do not have 4G spectrum & require a strategy to go up against newer entrants.

 

Which Offload

Although standardized by 3GPP & IETF, mobile offload is a complex topic with multiple solutions. Each solution approaches the problem differently while keeping the end goal the same. Following are the leading solution architectures supported:

  • iWLAN – the original 3GPP backed standard that advocates a tunnel from the mobile user (UE) till the mobile core. Tunnels are typically IPSec & terminate directly at a TTG or PDG at the core. Since most UE do not support IPSec tunneling software, a software client or connection manager is required to be loaded at each UE.
  • Client-less iWLAN – a refinement over iWLAN, this standard relies on WLAN (WPA2) encryption between the UE & the WLAN. The AP in turn creates a secure IPSec tunnel to the TTG or PDG in the mobile core. This removes the need for any changes or software on the UE & hence the name "client-less".
  • Client-less EAPSIM with Local Breakout – this option is suitable for operators who do not wish to backhaul subscriber traffic to their mobile core & instead route it directly to the Internet via the local hotspot. Authentication is still SIM based ensuring secure network admission. Charging & policy may further be applied by using a micro-PCEF device such as Inventum service controller since traffic will not be routed via central GGSN/PDG.
  • PMIPv6 – originally developed by IETF & having found favor with 3GPP, Proxy Mobile IPv6 or simply PMIP uses a different approach from iWLAN. Subscriber terminals (IPv4/6) connect to the WLAN AP using SIM authentication. Once connected, the AP (or controller or MAG) creates an IPv6 tunnel to the mobile core (PDG, P-GW or LMA). Subscriber traffic flows over these encrypted tunnels to the mobile core & then out to the Internet. Policy & charging interfaces remain same.

 

Inventum provides solutions for all major mobile offload standards. Technology inter-op partnerships with leading TTG / PDG, PCEF and other eco-system vendors enables Inventum to deliver end-to-end solutions.

 

 

Key Offerings

Inventum's UNIFY Service Management Platform, provides core components for interfacing between the mobile & Wi-Fi networks.

UNIFY Service Management Platform

  • Multi-protocol AAA – single stop solution that can talk to WLAN AP (RADIUS), HLR (MAP) & PCRF (Gx/Gy). This enables fast SIM based authentications, policy lookups, accounting, proxy authentications, charging & more.
  • Captive Portal – required for all non-SIM based offload business cases or where UE does not support EAPSIM. Most popular use is for subscriber authentication using EAP-TTLS & SMS based One-Time-Password (OTP). The portal is also used in non-mobile or nomadic hotspot user cases where the only viable choice is to use browser based authentication.
  • Voucher System – used for generating & managing inventory of electronic (or physical) prepay & postpaid vouchers. Vouchers can be used to activate Wi-Fi services or top-up existing services. Vouchers are very useful in hotspot cases where the operator desires not only to offload traffic but also sell regular Wi-Fi access using PC or tablets.
  • Mini-HSS – due to the nomadic or one-time-use nature of subscribers visiting Wi-Fi hotspots, it is not always desirable to use existing mobile HSS or charging systems for hotspot visitors. In such situations, operators require an independent mini-HSS solution to capture such nomadic hotspot users outside of their existing mobile HSS.
  • OCS/OFCS – for the same reasons as the Mini-HSS above and additionally for operators who do not have an existing OCS but require to offer prepay Wi-Fi plans, Inventum offers both OCS & OFCS solutions.

 

 

Inventum's Service Routers & Controllers are excellent PCEF & Wi-Fi service control routers for use in MDO applications.

  • Micro-PCEF – useful for operators who do not want to backhaul their traffic to the GGSN/PDG in Wi-Fi offload scenarios & instead wish to have a small gateway at the hotspot itself. Inventum's service controllers offers low cost PCEF options that breakout Internet traffic locally to the Internet while retaining charging & policy enforcement.

 

Please consult the Micro PCEF solution for specific details.

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