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Brocade to work more closely with LTE network operators

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October 22, 2015

Earlier today, Brocade has announced a new network monitoring and management solution it hopes will attract the attention of LTE network operators in the U.S. and abroad.

Brocade's spokesman Phil Coates said the company is specifically addressing the shortcomings of traditional (ie: legacy) network monitoring systems.

Something like a deep packet inspection system plugged into a particular port and delivering traffic back to a management system doesn't match well with the increasingly-virtualized operations of an evolved packet core (EPC) network, Coates added.

The new system's enclosure is screwed into the rack and that's where it stays – but the workloads that are handling customer traffic, as processes in virtual machines are mobile, and can easily move out of reach of the system trying to capture statistics about their network traffic.

So in the network visibility portfolio, there's a virtual packet broker (VPB) that can move around with specific workloads, Coates said.

For his part, Asia-Pacific manager Gary Denman added that wireless carriers also want systems to be programmable enough to capture data down to the session level, something that many equipment makers can't seem to accomplish given today's technology.

A possibly controversial example of this is in complying with law enforcement-- even if you know you want a particular individual's traffic and have DPI handy, you're likely to end up with a flood of data that still has to be sifted down to what's specifically in a search warrant.

"Instead of setting hardware rules to get all of Richard's traffic, and later analyse it – now, we can turn around and look for specific traffic associated with a unique function, and get just that data that interests us", Coates explained.

As another example, a more mundane application would be in trying to maintain network optimisation for traffic like video. A user streaming sports while on a train would move between cells. If the network monitoring and optimisation features are solely hardware-based, there's going to be a lot of communication between the various units in most base stations to keep the stream optimized in a coherent manner.

Denman added that the overall explosion of over-the-top traffic is also in the company's sights, because mobile operators are struggling to adjust their billing models, partly because it's so difficult to get detailed data about what applications are using network bandwidth per se.

Brocade's sales litterature is that the "tap" can follow the workload with very low latency. It can spin up in a millisecond, Coates said. The network can get a lot more responsive in that instance.

Source: Brocade Inc.

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