Startup traffic-management vendor Vasona Networks scored its first announced customer win with regional wireless operator Cellcom, which is deploying Vasona's SmartAir1000 edge application controller and SmartVision analysis suite across its footprint in Wisconsin and Michigan.
"Currently, we're using Vasona on our 3G network where we saw the most congestion. It was at the cell level on the air interface where we were having the biggest problem, and Vasona helped us solve those issues. We are just starting to deploy 4G and don't see congestion yet, but next year as we aggressively deploy, we have every intention of plugging Vasona in there too," Robert Riordan, Cellcom's executive vice president and director of corporate development, told FierceWirelessTech.
Riordan said Cellcom field tested Vasona's solution for three months starting in October 2013. "When we started field testing, we focused on a small number of congested cells. The results were so successful that it made sense to roll out Vasona network-wide. Now, the solution is managing traffic on every cell site in every sector of the network," he added.
The companies said that since deploying Vasona's technology, Cellcom has realized more than 30 percent improved bitrate performance for video and web browsing plus a 35 percent reduction in mobile-service latency during periods of congestion.
Vasona has pioneered cell-level traffic shaping with its SmartAir product, which sits between the mobile network core and the radio access network (RAN), assessing congestion issues at each cell and taking action to manage service quality as needed. It also examines application sessions in real time to calculate the amount of bandwidth needed by each.
The SmartVision product provides both real-time monitoring of live operating conditions and analytical reporting about cell-performance trends. It also helps facilitate centralized management of the SmartAir1000.
Cellcom assessed several other options for RAN optimization. "When we did our research, the only things vendors could really offer us were deep-packet inspection on the backend [core], or technologies that focus on just one type of application like video. We weren't looking for something to improve backhaul and Internet connectivity because that was fine already. What we wanted was for customers to be able to surf, watch video, and listen to music and have a good experience," Riordan said.
"Even in talking with other carriers about various solutions they implemented, we found that they were generally satisfied but that the products they were putting in weren't meeting all expectations. What we needed was a solution that could deal well with our radios and congestion on the air interface," he continued.
Riordan noted another major selling point for Vasona's product was that it only kicks in during periods of congestion, leaving traffic to flow normally when cells are not under heavy load. The product also is built so that if it fails for any reason, "it takes itself out of the loop and doesn't hurt the subscriber experience in any way," he said.
In addition to using Vasona's SmartVision to diagnose cell-level issues and their possible links to certain application types or subscribers, Cellcom is employing it as a tool for future planning.
"For example, one potential initiative for us will be caching at cell sites. SmartVision helps us understand where there might be tremendous amounts of video at certain locations, helping us identify prime candidates for caching and allowing us to further optimize traffic," Riordan said.
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