vEPC and vPCEF provide real-time monitoring and application of network rules and policies, in turn enabling new use cases and exceptional QoS, while lowering costs and boosting revenue.
According to the most recent Ericsson Mobility Report (June 2020), global mobile subscriptions are forecast to grow from 7.9 billion in 2019 to 8.9 billion in 2025 – by which time, 2.8 billion (nearly one-third) of which will be 5G subscriptions. Ericsson and the GSA also predict that by 2025, 88 per cent of subscriptions will be for mobile broadband.
Clearly, mobile data usage for capabilities such as video, VoLTE, multimedia messaging, gaming, and so on, is set to continue to rise significantly over the next few years. However, it means that as the market evolves, so must the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) in order to support this growth in traffic, while delivering superior Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE)… in real time.
The EPC needs to include the capability to dynamically scale up and down to meet traffic demands during peak hours and to reserve capacity during quieter periods, as well as the flexibility to initiate new services based on real-time traffic conditions and ensure service availability at all times.
That’s where the virtual EPC (vEPC) solution comes in. vEPC is a framework for virtualising the functions required in converged voice and data 4G LTE and 5G networks. It enables centralised control, management, security and intelligence of mobile network components.
Virtualising EPC functionality frees the core network’s individual components from costly, siloed, and often proprietary hardware, instead providing a software-based solution that theoretically could enable networks to be customised to meet the unique requirements of individual subscribers.
This brings multiple benefits. It can significantly reduce CAPEX and OPEX, improve service delivery, dynamically scale to meet traffic conditions, and respond instantly to real-time network conditions and service delivery requirements.
As well as ensuring superior service customisation and availability, QoS and QoE – which in turn, can reduce churn and attract new mobile subscribers – it enables new use cases, including high-speed mobile applications, virtual mobile networks, enterprise mobility, and even IoT capabilities.
In simple terms, it offers exceptional flexibility and agility by enabling the rapid introduction of new services, which could be targeted by customer demographic, vertical or geography, alongside elastic scalability in real time in order to meet customer demand and support the prevailing traffic conditions.
An essential component of vEPC is Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF), which is a part of Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF). PCRF is a node that operates in real time to determine policy rules in multimedia networks. Tambora’s approach enables dynamic realisation of policies from the PCRF, across multiple network slices. So, it’s perfect for the transition from 4G to vEPC and on to 5G.
Of course, in a virtualised vEPC environment, PCRF and PCEF capabilities need to be virtualised too. Tambora’s virtual PCEF (vPCEF) solution functions as 3GPP TDF and PCEF, running either as VNF on VM or as image on container. It seamlessly interfaces with PCRF/OCS/OFCS/PGW (4G) and PCF/CHF/UPF (5G).
The benefit of vPCEF is that it saves CAPEX and OPEX costs, as outlined above, while offering greater flexibility. It enables signature addition, policy use cases and service chaining, which can be configured in real-time, without service disruption.
Tambora’s vPCEF detects over 3,000 digital signatures, and performs policy functions such as blocking, bandwidth control, priority scheduling, traffic redirection and traffic marking. It also meters traffic based on volume, time or events.
As a result, it allows operators to dynamically manage and prioritise individual subscriber traffic and/or specific applications and services in real-time, by controlling bandwidth allocation dynamically at the gateway.
Along with virtual PCRF, vPCEF enables service providers to offer differentiated service offerings to boost revenue, launch new services and use cases dynamically, provide elastic scalability, exceptional QoS, while ensuring compliance with SLAs and KPIs. Get in touch with Tambora today, to find out how we can help you.
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