Guardian solves network 'blind spot'

Alcatel-Lucent believes it has developed a solution to what it calls a 'blind spot' in how mobile operators manage data traffic on their networks. The company today unveiled its 9900 Wireless Network Guardian (pic), which promises to help carriers get visibility into how packet data and IP applications are transmitted over the network. Specifically, the Guardian will look at how applications such as VPN, e-mail, Web-surfing and peer-to-peer potentially create network congestion because of the resources in the network that they use.

Canadian operator Bell Mobility has already signed on to trial the Guardian in its commercial network. Alcatel-Lucent will be demonstrating the product at the upcoming CTIA Wireless 2008 conference in April.

According to Mike Schabel, general manager of the 9900 Wireless Network Guardian at Alcatel-Lucent Ventures, the 9900 differs from other network monitoring products because it looks specifically at wireless network resources, which are different than wired networks. Most operators today use the same tools to monitor wireless networks that they use to track wireline networks. Tools used to monitor wireline networks tend to measure bandwidth only and do not track the impact of different types of traffic on wireless radio access network resources. That is key, Schabel says, because without visibility into the radio access network, carriers may experience network outages. –Sue