Mobile users expect personalization. While a simple tiered pricing option based on monthly data limits was good initially, users and the mobile industry as a whole have moved toward much more complex mobile broadband services. Today there is a huge appetite for leveraging time, location and speed to provide a host of personalized services and promotions.
“Driven by the European Union (EU) ‘Bill shock’ legislation,” noted a recent white paper by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), The A.R.T of Policy Management, “fair use with soft capped services were instantiated that notified the subscriber when they exceeded certain usage volumes when roaming; this was really the beginning of the evolution of mobile personalized services.”
Delivering users their own set of service options that can be dynamically tailored to personalized needs and performance requirements mean an even greater need for an effective centralized policy control engine, however. But the two existing policy control engine models—a general-purpose rules engine and a hard-coded rules engine—leave much to be desired.
Using a linear step-by-step processing flow approach, a general-purpose rules engine first processes each message and evaluates it as a candidate to trigger a policy, according to Alcatel-Lucent. If the engine determines that a policy is to be triggered, it invokes the rules that define that policy. At this stage, the engine collects the data needed to evaluate the policy and the engine then evaluates the policy conditions and initiates the associated actions.
But as Alcatel-Lucent noted, “Although a general-purpose rules engine offers flexibility, its lack of specific mobile broadband call-flow modeling hampers its performance and maintainability under scale, especially in complex use cases. In addition, ease of use is reduced because adding and modifying business rules often requires a consulting contract with the actual policy vendor.”
The main alternative, a hard-coded rules engine, offers a model that is streamlined to a specific set of use cases or business policies. The engine processes messages individually and determines if they should trigger one of the policies.
“This model offers good performance and scale but limited flexibility and maintainability,” according to the Alcatel-Lucent paper.
This is why Alcatel-Lucent has developed a hybrid approach it calls the Alcatel-Lucent Agile (News - Alert) Rules Technology (A.R.T.). The A.R.T. policy control engine specifically models the call flow and data requirements of a fundamental set of use cases that represent key business models. A.R.T. provides excellent run-time efficiency by anticipating and caching key data requirements of each call flow. The technology then triggers the rules engine only under specific mobile broadband conditions.
“This specific modeling effectively reduces the complexity of all use cases before they reach the rules engine, resulting in excellent performance that does not deteriorate under scale and complexity,” effectively combining the best of both previous approaches.
Source (News - Alert): Alcatel-Lucent
A.R.T. finds expression in Alcatel-Lucent’s 5780 Dynamic Services Controller. A state-of-the-art policy control solution that enables service providers to map business demands and network constraints to easy-to-manage network policy rules, according to the Alcatel-Lucent paper, it is a fully converged
Platform that offers a 3GPP Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) and support for a wireline Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) environment.
Further, it comes with a powerful policy visualization graphical user interface for easy policy adjustment, combines excellent performance with robust flexibility, and is tailored specifically for service providers to reduce time and costs to operate, install, upgrade, troubleshoot and debug the system and associated policies.
So while mobile broadband is more complex than ever, Alcatel-Lucent has it covered when it comes to policy management.
Edited by Peter Bernstein