Foregoing a clever yet incomprehensible name, Cisco announced a new straightforward Traffic Packet Optimization (TPO) service that combines deep packet inspection (DPI), integrated intelligence and value-added services on its ASR 5000 multimedia core platform. The purpose? Helping wireless operators speed end-user downloads and reduce bandwidth needs by using software to optimize wireless packet traffic in the platform without having to offload to load balancers and provisioning servers that could slow down delivery.
A better mousetrap kind of announcement that speaks directly to congestion and bandwidth issues faced by wireless operators, TPO is designed to better manage data by adapting traffic to accommodate dynamic network conditions. Cisco said TPO can potentially reduce the amount of traffic on a wireless network by up to 50%. The software solution also uses compression techniques to reduce the size of text-heavy HTTP traffic and optimize transmission control protocol (TCP) traffic. Optimizing traffic can reduce mobile backhaul costs.
“Cisco TPO is a valuable tool that does two very important things: It allows mobile operators to enhance the end-user experience while improving bandwidth utilization at the same time,” said Daryl Schoolar, principal analyst, wireless infrastructure at Current Analysis.
Cisco said wireless operators have been testing the new service, but it could not announce customer wins at this time.
The TPO advantage to consumer and business users is faster mobile video, Internet and cloud computing services, while the advantage to wireless operators is reducing traffic loads on their networks.
Ashraf Dahod, Cisco’s senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s mobile Internet technology group, discussed TPO briefly in his keynote address at the 4G World conference in Chicago on Tuesday. Dahod was the founder and CEO of Starent Networks Corp., the mobile packet core specialist acquired by Cisco a year ago for $2.9 billion.
To increase revenue, Dahod said one way wireless operators can improve profitability is by reducing capex and opex by optimizing their networks through a combination of techniques including offload, optimizing video and adapting multimedia traffic (called transrating) – a message that would highlight the need for the TPO service, which had not yet been announced.
Andrew Capener, director of marketing for Cisco’s Starent Networks division, said TPO can reduce a 1.2 Mbps text-heavy mobile page to 250 kbps, which can be delivered faster and use much less bandwidth. “It’s one of those simple things that has a big impact. TPO can reduce HTTP and TCP traffic,” he said.
As for charges that the software solution could slow performance by overtaxing processors, Capener said Cisco’s TPO service was tested in a recent European Advanced Networking Test Center and showed zero performance loss.