BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager (PEM) License
Table of Contents
BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager
Optimize and Monetize Networks with Context-Aware Policy Enforcement
The growth in device usage and the explosion of data traffic from resource-intensive content like streaming video and high-bandwidth, over-the-top applications is forcing fixed-line and mobile service providers to push their networks to the limit.
The challenge is to find ways to efficiently deliver customized services with best-in-class customer experience, while also optimizing network utilization and managing radio access network congestion. F5 BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager (PEM) delivers the insight you need to understand subscriber behavior and effectively manage network traffic with a wide range of policy enforcement capabilities.
BIG-IP PEM provides intelligent layer 4–7 traffic steering, network intelligence, and dynamic control of network resources through subscriber- and context-aware solutions. It also provides deep reporting, which you can capitalize on to build tailored services and packages based on subscribers’ app usage and traffic classification and patterns to increase ARPU
- Enable new business models and services
Base your business models and services on insights gathered through comprehensive analytics and subscriber awareness capabilities,for better quality of experience (QoE) and higher ARPU and profitability.
- Optimize network performance
Reduce network congestion and deliver better performance to your subscribers with layer 7 intelligent traffic steering capabilities and the ability to implement bandwidth control policies.
- Consolidate services and reduce costs
Combine core elements in your network infrastructure—including policy enforcement, intelligent traffic steering, carrier-grade NAT,and network firewall as well as integrated VAS capabilities, such as URL filtering and TCP optimization, within an easy-to-manage unified platform. Lower CapEx and OpEx, and gain energy efficiency for a greener environment.
- Achieve carrier-grade performance and scalability
Manage traffic with fewer servers—and without sacrificing performance. Take advantage of best-in-class performance and scalability for total concurrent sessions, traffic throughput,and transactions per second with BIG-IP PEM,a NEBS-compliant platform.
- Roll out new services faster
Simplify your network and gain greater visibility into subscriber usage patterns to create customized services and get them to market quickly and boost subscriber satisfaction and loyalty.
BIG-IP PEM, as a 3GPP compliant Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (supporting Gx/Gy interface) or as a Traffic Detection Function (supporting Sd interface), offers service providers a comprehensive set of traffic classification capabilities. These capabilities help you accurately identify the specific applications and services your subscribers are using, and how they’re using them.
You can use this information to create service plans that meet the needs of your subscribers, while also using it to regulate network usage. The combination of differentiated services and network usage control leads to increased profitability.
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Traffic classification Understanding the types of applications and services, as well as the protocols being used in the network, is key to determining how to manage subscribers’ bandwidth consumption for optimal network performance. It’s also key to developing and monetizing innovative services while ensuring optimal network efficiency and utilization monitoring.
For example, as your subscriber is watching a TV show on YouTube, you can prompt the subscriber to purchase a “turbo button” feature which, when activated, delivers a burst of bandwidth to the subscriber’s device. The result is a better experience for the subscriber, and incremental revenue for you. BIG-IP PEM gives you the ability to classify traffic into several categories of applications and protocols—including classification of application subcategories that include voice, video, and IM. These are some examples of the types of apps and protocols BIG-IP PEM supports:
- P2P: BitTorrent, Gnutella
- VoIP: SIP, Skype, Yahoo!, Jabber
- Web: HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, YouTube, Facebook
- Streaming: HTTP streaming, RTSP, HTTP audio
- Non-TCP/UDP: IPsec, GRE, IPinIP, ICMP
As the number of apps and services being used in the network grows, you need to continually update your signature libraries to ensure that protocol classifications and subscriber plans are accurate, based on subscribers’ usage patterns.
To this end, BIG-IP PEM(BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager (PEM) License) supports dynamic and hitless signature upgrades, so you can seamlessly receive new signatures for new or existing applications—without having to perform a software release upgrade. Other types of traffic classification employed on BIG-IP PEM include behavior and heuristics analysis, and deep packet inspection
Subscriber awareness BIG-IP PEM performs subscriber discovery via RADIUS and/or DHCP and provides information such as IP address, IMSI, and user name, which, when correlated with application flows, allows for deeper understanding of the type of applications and services subscribers are using and how they are using them.
In addition, BIG-IP PEM can retrieve info on RAT type (Radio Access Technology) via RADIUS messages and can apply different policies based on subscriber use of 3G or 4G LTE networks. BIG-IP PEM can also function as a RADIUS client for authentication and accounting for subscribers.
Video traffic is a major source of congestion in a service provider’s network—causing significant degradation in subscriber QoE if not managed carefully. With the BIG-IP PEM video analytics capability, service providers can get enhanced visibility into media traffic including reporting on video type, encoding rate, resolution, and video mean opinion score (MOS).
Leveraging this information, service providers can apply specific policies based on video type per subscriber. For example, premium subscribers will be able to stream HD video, while non-premium subscribers will only be able to stream SD video for that specific application (while streaming HD video for all other applications).
RAN congestion detection and control
Data-intensive applications (including mobile video) continue to place significant strain on service provider networks, and more specifically on resource constraint elements such as the Radio Access Network (RAN). As one of the most expensive elements within service provider networks, the RAN must be optimized and policies implemented to detect and control congestion within the RAN.
This enables service providers to optimize network resources while improving subscriber QoE. As an inline network device, BIG-IP PEM monitors subscriber throughput, loss rate, and delay. It can then apply specific policies to the subscriber traffic, including rate limiting and steering specific subscriber traffic to optimization services—leading to reduction in traffic congestion. As a result, the service provider can save CapEx and OpEx on core network infrastructure and provide a high QoE
Mobile subscribers, on average, are expected to have 3–4 devices with them at any one time. However, many do not have separate data plans for each of their devices, instead tethering their devices to their primary device, typically via WiFi. From a service provider perspective, unauthorized tethering of devices leads to additional bandwidth strain on their already resource-constrained network, leading to poorer quality of experience and loss of revenues.
Service providers need to be able to detect tethered devices and apply policies to reduce the impact on their network. BIG-IP PEM supports a comprehensive set of tethering detection algorithms. These polices allow service providers to alleviate network congestion and increase revenue streams with new plans for subscribers.
BIG-IP PEM includes a highly optimized TCP/IP stack that provides leading edge TCP/IP techniques (which minimize the effects of congestion and packet loss for 3G/4G networks). TCP optimization delivers up to 2x performance gains for subscribers and a 4x improvement in bandwidth efficiency.
HTTP header enrichment
HTTP header enrichment enables you to append the HTTP header with information such as MSISDN, IMSI, and IP address, which can be used to provide further subscriber awareness to the application or service. With this capability, BIG-IP PEM (located between the subscriber’s mobile device and the network) enables you to provide a more personalized and interactive experience—all while increasing ARPU.
BIG-IP PEM Platforms
BIG-IP PEM offers best-in-class performance and scalability for total concurrent sessions, traffic throughput, and transactions per second on its systems. NEBS-compliant, BIG-IP PEM scales up to 320 Gbps of throughput at layer 7 with more than 24 million concurrent subscribers.
This high-availability platform also includes sophisticated health monitoring, fast system failovers, and comprehensive connection mirroring to ensure service uptime and at-peak performance. Hardware includes BIG-IP iSeries appliances or the F5 VIPRION modular chassis and blade system designed specifically for service delivery, security, and high performance. VIPRION uses F5 ScaleN technologies to provide on-demand linear scalability, enabling you to add blades with no disruption to your network.
Virtual editions of BIG-IP software run on commodity servers and provide agility and fast deployment of services in network functions virtualization (NFV) environments. BIG-IP PEM provides a high degree of redundancy and resiliency with support for interchassis and intra-chassis redundancy.
Both intra-chassis redundancy (which provides redundancy within a single system) and inter-chassis redundancy (which provides redundancy across multiple systems in the same location or different locations) enable you to adhere to service level agreements (SLAs) and avoid unplanned network outages, providing a greater QoE to your subscribers.
BIG-IP PEM is available on the VIPRION C2400, C4800, and C4480 chassis with the B4300 and B4340, both 96 GB blades, and the high-performance 100 GB B4480 blade. BIG-IP PEM is also available as a stand-alone appliance with the new BIG-IP iSeries i5x00, i7x00 and i10x00 appliances, as well as virtual network functions (vPCEF/vTDF) running on BIG-IP virtual editions, which offer the flexibility of a virtual BIG-IP system.