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Feature article: DPI, managing the data.

Eastcom DPI system

Overview


Today, it’s not a secret that mobile operators are struggling with high expenditure on network infrastructure, which brings unprecedented pressure on them to keep reasonable profit, but the high-speed networks they built have not generated high-speed profit growth. Instead, IT giants and innovative OTT service providers are making the most use of the advanced network, and the services they provide are becoming more influential to mobile users than the network itself. A big data pie has been created as expected by mobile operators, but they actually have only got a slice of it. That’s why they decide to change. Here is some evidence of this change:

•Worldwide shift from all-you-can-eat mobile data plans to tiered pricing
•Customer-centric service offers, linked to usage and applications
•Policy-driven, real-time charging and content distribution
•Bandwidth-on-demand (user-initiated or application-driven)
•"Freemium" services with premium charges for advanced versions

For all these services, DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) is the fundamental technology.

How DPI helps?


DPI is a form of computer network packet filtering that examines the data part (and possibly also the header) of a packet as it passes an inspection point, searching for protocol non-compliance, viruses, spam, intrusions, or defined criteria to decide whether the packet may pass or if it needs to be routed to a different destination, or, for the purpose of collecting statistical information. The technology has long been used in Internet. As the mobile networks become data-jammed, DPI is introduced into Telecom industry.

A standard DPI-enabled service usually includes three function layers as below:

 

Figure 1 Topology of DPI-enabled services
By gathering and analyzing data flows, DPI-enabled services will help mobile operators manage the data traffic and then benefit from it on aspects like Target Adverts, Billing Logic, Network Security and Lawful Intercept. All of these will eventually help mobile operators improve ARPU and enhance customer loyalty.

How DPI works?

Take Eastcom’s advanced and cost-effective DPI system as an example. A typical work flow of Eastcom DPI system with policy enforcement is as below:

Figure 2 DPI work flow chart

In this figure, Eastcom DPI system has five main functions:

Protocols and applications recognition
− Protocol analysis: HTTP, RTSP, SIP, FTP, SMTP, DNS, WAP protocol, etc.
− Service recognition: IM, P2P downloading, video, and VoIP, etc.
− Application recognition: facebook, youtube, etc.
 Packet forwarding
− Recognizing packets by application types and protocols, and forwarding the recognizable packets according to a MAC address.
Log
− Synchronizing business logs to SYSLOG server by SYSLOG method. The contents of the business log include phone number, IP address, cell information, protocol type (e.g. HTTP, RTSP, SIP, Socket), service type (e.g. IM, P2P downloading), application type(e.g. Facebook, Youtube), traffic, etc.
Flow control policy
− Receiving flow control policy through the TCP/IP interface; the policy can be created according to the following items:
−SP ID or name;
−mobile phone number, cell ID;
−application type;
−combination of the items above.

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