Posted by: Andy Huckridge | July 17, 2012

Infonetics: Mobile Services to Hit $976 Billion by 2016

Infonetics: Mobile Services to Hit $976 Billion by 2016          

Infonetics Research is predicting that the mobile services market worldwide will grow to $976 billion by 2016, with the bulk of the growth coming from mobile broadband services.

The firm’s latest 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE) Services and Subscribers: Voice, SMS/MMS, and Broadband report, which tracks operator subscribers and revenue derived from pre-paid and post-paid mobile broadband data, voice, and messaging services, finds that mobile broadband subscribers will grow from 15% to nearly 40% of all mobile subscribers between 2011 and 2016.

“The mobile world is undeniably shifting from voice to data, as mobile operators migrate as many subscribers as they can to data service plans and smartphones. Already in North America and Asia Pacific, mobile operators derive over 40% of their mobile revenue from mobile broadband and messaging. But, while mobile broadband is no doubt the fastest growing revenue stream for operators, mobile messaging and voice aren’t dead just yet, not by a long shot,” notes Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research’s principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics.

Téral adds: “The prophecies of doom for mobile operators’ SMS/MMS cash cow are being overplayed. Despite the popularity of over-the-top messaging applications like Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp, our data shows SMS growing every year from 2012 to 2016, delivering a cumulative $1 trillion in operator revenue during those 5 years. And over that same period, voice revenue will decline only slightly, still making up a sizable chunk of operator revenues.”

Some other highlights:


    • On a global basis, Infonetics expects operators to see a 6% increase overall in revenue from mobile voice, mobile broadband, and mobile messaging services in 2012
  • The highest growth in 2012 will come from Asia Pacific and Latin America, while the EMEA region is expected to see a slight decline due to cutthroat competition and economic turmoil
  • Mobile data (text messaging, multimedia messaging, and mobile broadband) service revenue rose in every region in 2011, driven by an increase in smartphone usage At more than a quarter trillion dollars in 2011, Asia Pacific generates the largest portion of mobile service revenue
  • Voice revenue dipped 0.8% worldwide in 2011, despite the growing use of voice services in China.
Posted by: Andy Huckridge | June 28, 2012

Network Packet Brokers: How To Increase Network Monitoring ROI


In April 2012, Gartner released an industry landscape which covered Network monitoring and defined a new term “Network Packet Brokers” – this paper will look at what they do, their advantages and why you should deploy one within your network.


Carriers and Operators constantly face a challenge of containing costs while responding to the rapidly changing business environments, especially when it comes to maintaining high visibility and compliance in their networks.  The need to scale and remain compliant and secure, are at the forefront of their requirements. Unique for carriers and operators is the additional issue of ever increasing subscriber interest in, and revenue dependence on, new mobile services – raises concerns about spotty network performance. These require an increase in the quantity and variety of network analysis tools to attach to network links which can drive Capex and Opex out-of-control.

What is needed is a ‘layer of intelligence’ to provide scalable visibility and control of packet brokering – this is called network intelligence optimization, or intelligently optimizing (capturing, reviewing, evaluating and reporting) what is going on within the network. This important additional layer reduces both Capex and Opex and provides complete visibility across the network. By proactively copying, forwarding, and redirecting captured traffic in real-time, Network Operators can achieve higher service availability, lower labor costs for network analysis, lower analysis costs overall, and greater subscriber and revenue protection. In order to achieve the greatest level of return on investment (ROI) these tools are needed to optimize and secure the flow of network analysis to any operations center, on any network, anywhere – helping the Operator fuel a sustainable competitive advantage and guarantee future operating success.

Companies should consider an ROI evaluation that includes financial analysis and compares the estimated total cost of ownership (TCO) over three years between the current monitoring environment and a proposed Network Packet Broker layer.  With this information, the Operator can better understand the potential direct and indirect savings to their organization, including how productivity will be enhanced as subscriber experience, service performance, and network maintainability are all improved. A system wide interconnected approach to deploying a monitoring / analysis measurement system will maximize return on new tool investment, and provide a greater return on existing investment.

A clear alternative which either reduces or preserves current levels of Capex and Opex, is to deploy a Network Packet Broker layer, thereby extending the life of existing tools even as the network capacity is upgraded, visibility of the network is increased system-wide, future tool expenses can be better managed / predicted and a centralized monitoring system realized. These advantages bring clear benefits to the operator top and bottom lines.

Whether the IT group is centralizing their network intelligence tools or the tools will remain distributed throughout the network – LAN, WAN, or across the Cloud – a Network Packet Broker layer will provide complete visibility to the tools. Network “blind spots” can be eliminated because there is no more SPAN Port contention as the tools access traffic through the Network Packet Brokering system. Captured and groomed traffic maintains a centralized view of the network, regardless of physical location of the tools.

The immediate impact of the unprecedented network visibility is simplification of the network architecture, and a significant reduction in number of tools and consequently the management overhead. True end-to-end troubleshooting is now possible, resulting in much reduced response time to outage and repair (e.g. MTTR).

The intelligence of the system filters and grooms traffic to dramatically improve the efficiency of the tools. Many tools are application-specific, which means they are only interested in certain types of IP traffic coming from certain parts of the network. Selective hardware-based filtering, high data burst buffers and session-aware load balancing ensure that tools receive only the specific traffic they need to see (e.g. from specific VLANs), and that no packets are lost to due to over subscription.

With a Network Packet Brokering layer between the tools and the network infrastructure, instead of a 1:1 ratio of tools to network links, network operations can monitor several links or the entire network with a single tool. This dramatically reduces the Capex needed to completely cover the network.  This will result in lower management overhead, shorter time to troubleshoot network anomalies and repair mean further reduction in operating costs, faster ROI, and the ability to meet SLAs.


Network Packet Brokers, when used as a system enable the following distinct advantages:

  • Up to 120% Increase in Application Availability
  • Up to 80% Reduction in Capital expenditures
  • Up to 50% Reduction in Operational expenditures
  • Lower Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)
  • Allows Operators to become truly tool vendor agnostic
  • Lower churn and higher subscriber QoE
  • Allow operators to focus on operational efficiency & service differentiation
  • Allow monitoring tools to be cross-connected between different topologies as needed: Fixed, 3G, 4G/LTE and VoD
  • Preserve existing investment, defer new investments
  • Day 1 ROI, reduce tool TCO

Andy Huckridge, M.Sc (Telecoms)

Network Packet Brokers are also known by these other industry names: Fabric Switch, Traffic Visibility Switch, Visibility Layer, Traffic Visibility Networking, Intelligent Tap, Aggregator / Aggregation, Network Monitoring Switch, Distributed Traffic Capture, Network Intelligence Optimization

Posted by: Andy Huckridge | June 19, 2012

Webinar: Monitoring ROI & Network Packet Brokers

Webinar: Monitoring ROI


Do you want to reduce the number of tools you manage or maintain – while decreasing the response time for diagnosing outages? Do you want to increase your network visibility coverage and decrease blind spots? Reduce expenses associated with subscriber churn while improving the end-user experience? Learn how you can do more with less…

What Attendees will learn:

  • How to improve network operational efficiency, increase uptime
  • How to get the best ROI out of your existing monitoring tools
  • How Network Intelligence Optimization can reduce downtime and churn

Who should attend:

  • Fixed & Mobile operators, Network operators, Carriers, Service providers
  • Network admin staff, Technical directors, CTO’s
  • 3G conversion & 4G deployment staff

Register Today     Wednesday, June 27, 2012 2:00 PM EDT / 11:00 AM PDT


Andy Huckridge M.Sc. (Telecoms)
Sr. Director, Telecom Strategy & Marketing

Andy Huckridge is a seasoned Telecom industry executive, currently serving as Director of Marketing to VSS Monitoring, where he gained experience with the analytic tool & service assurance aspects of 4G/LTE deployments. Huckridge has had direct exposure to numerous telecom technologies from SS7 through VoLTE, including the gamut of 3G & 4G mobile technologies. He is a frequent speaker on new Telecom technologies and related industry issues, and influences decisions made at industry forums and standards bodies.

Mr. Huckridge’s responsibilities have included product management, strategic planning & market development as well as the project management of large scale / global technology trials. He has over 16 years of Silicon Valley Telecommunications industry experience with cutting edge technologies, holds M.Sc. and B. Eng. (Hons) degrees in Telecoms & Spacecraft Engineering, holds a patent in VoIP and has co-authored an IETF RFC. He was also an inaugural member of the “Top 100 Voices of IP Communications” list. Huckridge also serves as an independent consultant to operators & carriers as well as to network & test equipment manufacturers. He has experience overseeing various international projects in the Telecom and Security space with leading companies and associations.


Peter Bernstein,
Senior Editor

Peter Bernstein is a seasoned writer and professional with deep experience in the communications and IT industries. As a top-level industry analyst, Peter has keynoted major technology events and has been cited numerous times by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Business Week, Fortune Magazine, ComputerWorld, NetworkWorld, Communications Week, among other publications.

Bernstein has authored or co-authored market research studies, CEO speeches, white papers, articles, and other content for major companies in the technology markets. His experience includes work with Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Equant, France Telecom, HP, Siemens, Verizon, Nortel, Wave Systems, and many more. He held the position of director of global marketing and communications at Telcordia.

Posted by: Andy Huckridge | June 19, 2012

Infonetics Predicts Uptick in Telco CAPEX

Infonetics Predicts Uptick in Telco CAPEX

Stéphane Téral

Stéphane Téral Principal Analyst
Mobile Infrastructure and Carrier Economics +1 408.583.3371

Infonetics is predicting an uptick in telecom CAPEX this year driven by mobile network modernization, especially in Asia. Some highlights:

  • Global telecom carrier capex grew 3% to $301 billion in 2011 from 2010
  • Spending on every type of network equipment grew in 2011, with the exception of TDM voice, which continued its steep decline
  • Asia Pacific was again the largest telecom carrier capex region, followed by EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa)
  • Infonetics expects worldwide capex to spike in 2012, then level out in 2015 and 2016 at around the US$345 billion mark
  • Wireless operators’ share of capex is forecast to grow from a quarter to nearly a third of global capex between 2012 and 2016, as the world continues to go mobile
  • Telecom service provider revenue grew 6% to $1.8 trillion worldwide in 2011 over 2010
  • Operators in Asia Pacific and EMEA are the largest revenue generators, each region with about a third of global revenue.

“We’re expecting a telecom capex hike in 2012 as operators around the world ramp their spending like crazy to launch LTE networks, modernize their mobile networks, and carry out national wireline broadband initiatives. Operators have to invest in their networks or they’ll disappear — competition is too cut-throat not to,” notes Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.

Téral adds: “High demand everywhere for telecom services, particularly mobile broadband, is fueling the latest investment cycle. The key capex contributors in 2012 will be Clearwire, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA in the US; NTT DoCoMo and Softbank Mobile in Japan; and KT, LGU+, and SK telecom in South Korea. China recently revealed a US$58 billion economic stimulus package to fund a fresh round of investment in telecom infrastructure. Meanwhile, Europe’s Big 5 have increased capital intensity by 2 percentage points for the first time in 5 years, right in the middle of the critical economic downturn! As for Latin America, operators already spiked, with capex there up 25% in 2011, led by América Móvil and Telefónica.”

Posted by: Andy Huckridge | June 19, 2012

Blueprint: Network Architecture

Blueprint: Network Architecture.


It is well understood that placing an aggregator between a number of network links and an analytic tools layer can be important for giving you more coverage of your network links, helping tools run at full capacity, and centralizing traffic to a NoC from a number of disparate network segments. Aggregators allow for the monitoring of a greater number of network segments, increasing the utilization of your tools and allowing for greater network coverage as a whole. Network problems can be found more quickly, facilitating faster troubleshooting and resulting in greater network up time and less churn.


But there’s an oft overlooked side effect – the loss of Link Layer Visibility. Critical information about the nature of the data you’re trying to monitor and analyze can no longer be seen. You’ve lost information such as which port the packet came from, when the packet arrived, the underlying characteristics of the network link, and the nature of the traffic on the link. In fact there’s a whole wealth of information that’s been lost when Link Layer Visibility has been lost, including the associated meta-data. What are the real network ramifications of losing Link Layer Visibility? You don’t know which network segment your tool is viewing, or have visibility into any of the meta-data about the packet itself, including:

• Delay

• Jitter

• Latency

• Packet loss

• Malformed packets count

• Duplicated packets count

• Fragmented packets count


The problem extends all the way up to the Tool layer

By introducing an aggregator which doesn’t preserve Link Layer Visibility, tool results are incorrect, streams are discarded, and you start losing packets because there are now collisions introduced at the ingress, again by the aggregator, due to the characteristics of bursty traffic. In fact – it’s worse than that. Sessions are now mixed together and your analytic tool may not be able to differentiate between one session and another – from packets arriving on one port and packets arriving on a different port. Tool results can often be wrong, resulting in a loss of accuracy and incorrect decision making since there may not be complete flows of traffic to analyze, with decreased result precision – where the same test gives different results over and over. In short your tool does more harm than good. Tools become more inefficient since they are now being overloaded on the front end by too much traffic – a consequence of no filtering. Indeed, tools have to work harder to check for and remove duplicated packets, as well as to reassemble fragmented packets where packet size boundaries have been exceeded.


The solution

There’s nothing wrong with adding an aggregator – or with aggregation, but next time you’re in need take a look at the VSS Monitoring line of intelligent network taps. Features for preserving Link Layer Visibility include:

• Port & Time stamping

• Filtering

• Packet counters

• Microburst detection and mitigation

• Aggregation

• High availability / High resiliency

• Session Aware Load Balancing

Multiply that with the industry’s only true Mesh deployment architecture, as opposed to the far less reliable Hub & Spoke approach, and not only do you benefit from seeing multiple network segments with the same, or with multiple different tools, but you also get much more resilient monitoring with a network wide view that self-learns, self-heals and never loses a packet! 


Recovering a lost situation

By installing a VSS solution on top of your existing aggregator you get to reverse many of the problems explained above, as well as gain an optimized tools layer, deferring new investment and preserving existing investments. You also increase the accuracy and precision of the tool results as the data stream becomes more optimized through packet de-duplication, packet fragment reassembly & filtering. By surrounding the aggregator with a VSS Monitoring traffic capture layer, you preserve the port and ingress time as well as the associated meta-data.




Aggregators are good at aggregating, but little else. A dedicated traffic access layer combined with Network Intelligence Optimization features provides the most uptime, lowest downtime, highest reliability network with the most efficient tools layer and optimized traffic for service monitoring. Only by preserving Link Layer Visibility can you guarantee you’ll be able to find and process the packet that will lead to getting the network back up again. Using an aggregator that doesn’t preserve Link Layer Visibility will help to conceal the problem that is keeping your network down, hiding the packet at issue whilst effectively impeding a resolution.

Posted by: Andy Huckridge | April 23, 2012

Gartner releases new Network Packet Broker report

Vendor Landscape for Application-Aware Network Performance Monitoring and Network Packet Brokers. 18 April 2012

Application-aware NPM products are more sophisticated, with deeper views into apps and use patterns, and user-centric views of how well networks service requests to platforms. NPB products ease implementation and management of NPM and related technologies, and are often part of NPM system design.


Vendor Landscape for Application-Aware Network Performance Monitoring and Network Packet Brokers

Posted by: Andy Huckridge | March 20, 2012

VSS Monitoring Switching Fabric to Reduce Carrier OPEX and CAPEX

Article by Rich Tehrani, TMC

A major cost to carriers is the CAPEX and OPEX associated with network andy-huckridge.jpgmonitoring and analytic equipment. Andy Huckridge of VSS Monitoring explains carriers spend up to $300,000 dollars on this analytic equipment and yet they only use the devices at about 20% of their capability. And he should know as he used to work at Spirent where I have met with him over the years at shows like Supercomm, VON and TMC’s ITEXPO (Disclosure: I am the CEO of TMC).

According to Huckridge the solution to skyrocketing costs on tools entrusted with keeping the network purring like a fine Italian sports car (my words not his – but you get the idea) is a layer of intelligence to provide scalable visibility and control of traffic capture.

His company’s Network Intelligence Optimization layer proactively copies, forwards and redirects captured traffic in real-time allowing operators to achieve higher service availability at lower cost.

The goal here is to allow traditional testing equipment to have unrestricted visibility. In other words you can use an aggregator to connect to multiple network segments but then you could lose link layer visibility as well as delay, jitter, latency and dropped packet information.

Solutions from VSS – handle time stamping and port stamping allowing carriers to see delayed and dropped packets as well as other crucial metadata.

If you aren’t able to do this the challenge becomes that you end up vss-monitoring-finder-series.jpgthrowing packets away as you don’t have the content to analyze the data in the tool as data traffic comes from numerous data segments. This could yield erroneous results. The company uses session-based flow-aware load balancing on its Distributed, Protector and Finder Series (pictured) models which allows traffic from one access point to be balanced to up to eight output ports using one of ten balancing criteria options such as destination MAC address, EtherType, IP address, etc. This technology is useful for allowing a 1G port to accept 10G traffic. The company also has Expert Edition models which allow the criteria to extend to 22.

Moreover VSS utilizes a high data burst buffer allowing you to deal with microbursts potentially as a result of congestion or video traffic which could also result in a loss of link layer visibility.

They also recently released a deduplication feature which removes duplicate packets through various network segments. As a result, the analytics tools don’t get confused and see only what they need to see – with full metadata of course.

In addition, VSS has new Defragmentation and Packet Reassembly Capability allowing it to reassemble fragments on 4G networks back into the correct order. The need for this is in part due to the 4G/LTE network’s use of GTP (GPRS Tunneling Protocol) which causes packets to reach maximum transmission unit size and subsequently need to be split into numerous fragments. By reassembling packets, analytics tools get less confused, enjoy reduced downtime and are more efficient.

Perhaps the most ambitious objective of the company is to become the middleware between the network segment and analytic tools. They want to allow other network monitoring tools to connect virtually to the underlying carrier switching fabric through the VSS Monitoring Fabric. Obviously in order for the company to even suggest it could do such a thing it would need to be highly reliable. And to that end the company touted its full mesh architecture where equipment is linked by two or more connections to other parts of the system.

They tell me they are working with the world’s largest mobile carrier in this capacity and their self-healing routing protocol coupled with advanced buffering features ensure monitored data is not lost – even if a box goes down. Moreover a converged management system makes it easier to manage.

In fact a new Network Management System on the company’s Distributed Tap Series was requested by customers. It works as follows: since the system is mesh-connected you can now update one box and this in-turn upgrades the entire system. If there is a problem the standard failsafe reverts to the prior version of the software.

Andy believes that using their solutions you not only will save a tremendous amount of money but you will utilize your monitoring tools at 80-100%. Moreover by utilizing the VSS Monitoring fabric you aren’t at the mercy of network vendor software upgrades which could cause downtime and inconvenience.

Article by Rich Tehrani, TMC

Posted by: Andy Huckridge | March 12, 2012

Enterprise Strategy Group releases new iMAN report

Intelligent Management Aggregation Networks (iMAN) from vendors like Anue, Gigamon, NetOptics, and VSS Monitoring remain niche products for large enterprises and service providers with big complex networks.  ESG Research forecasts a market transition in progress however.  As enterprise organizations embrace data center consolidation, server virtualization, web applications, consumer devices, and mobility, they will need more comprehensive network visibility to help them address new network management, operations, and security requirements.  This in turn will drive iMAN into the networking market mainstream.

Will Intelligent Management Aggregation Networks (iMAN) Become Mainstream?

Posted by: Andy Huckridge | March 7, 2012

Interview by bnetTV at Mobile World Congress ’12 in Barcelona

Interview at Mobile World Congress – Barcelona, Spain 2012. – Your Emerging Technology Network

vss-monitoring-andy-huckridgeInterview by bnetTV at Mobile World Congress ’12 in Barcelona

Posted by: Andy Huckridge | March 3, 2012

Handling Microbursts

Handling Microbursts

Various data types, flows, and applications often exhibit behaviour with rather high amounts of bursts and jitter when transported across IP networks. These can be due to the packetisation and packet handling processes within network switches and routers. Alternatively, well known services also are the cause for bursty traffic – such as with Multicast, often used with IPTV transmission systems.

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