Cisco makes policy management play with BroadHop acquisition

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Cisco Systems is jumping into the policy control solutions game, acquiring Denver-based BroadHop, which provides more than 70 policy installations at service providers around the world. Financial terms were not disclosed.

BroadHop's policy control solutions for mobile and fixed networks will be integrated into Cisco's Service Provider Mobility Group.

"BroadHop has been a key service provider Wi-Fi partner for Cisco, and this acquisition is a natural extension of our collaboration as we continue to engage tier-one global service providers with our combined technologies. This acquisition reinforces Cisco's commitment to service providers by enabling policy control and service management across mobile, fixed and wireless broadband networks and adds value by driving the mobility network architecture to the next level," said Hilton Romanski, Cisco vice president and head of corporate business development, in a company blog entry.

BroadHop technology can help a service provider monetize customized, premium service packages, such as on-demand streaming, while delivering premium bandwidth to ensure the best possible user experience, said Romanksi. He added the acquisition of BroadHop is an "evolutionary" step in supporting Cisco's Open Network Environment (ONE) for extensible network programmability.

BroadHop, which was founded in 2003, markets an open policy platform designed to support all elements of policy control.

Cisco's interest in BroadHop is driven by the fact that communications service providers increasingly must track real-time usage of multiple devices. According to BroadHop, current networks experience an average of 10,000 transactions per second (TPS) with up to 100 policy-controlled applications, but networks will evolve to hit or exceed 100,000 TPS on average with more than 1,000 policy-controlled applications and services. Policy is applied to about 10 percent of subscribers currently, but operators expect it to apply to 100 percent of subscribers in next-generation networks.

BroadHop has been an enabler of Wi-Fi offloading and access programs. In April, the vendor said a Tier 1 U.S. operator is leveraging its Quantum Network Suite for portal-based authentication and redirection of Wi-Fi enabled smart phones and devices, while a U.S. telecommunications and media company is using the technology to support Wi-Fi authentication and policy scalability.

In May, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) selected BroadHop's Quantum Network Suite to deliver policy enabled Wi-Fi access for subscribers with qualifying service plans; Wi-Fi access for subscribers across multiple system including mobile, DSL and Wi-Max systems; Wi-Fi access for ad hoc, drop-in, pay-per-use users who self-register and pay for services on the fly; and multi access subscriber authentication and authorization on multiple networks.

In August 2009, BroadHop closed a $4.25 million expansion funding round from Peninsula Ventures and Boulder Ventures.

Cisco announced three planned acquisitions last month. The company said it would acquire network traffic management firm Cariden Technologies for $141 million cash, cloud networking firm Meraki for $1.2 billion and data center software firm Cloupia for $125 million. Cisco may be hoping to help fund its buying spree with proceeds from a future sale of its Linksys home Wi-Fi networking division. Cisco reportedly hired Barclays to help market Linksys to would-be buyers.

For more:
- see this Cisco blog entry
- see this GigaOM article
- see this WebProNews article
- see this ZDNet article

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