M1 employs 'traffic cop' to direct data flow

M1 employs 'traffic cop' to direct data flow
Without Traffix, the data signals would still find their own way but some could be lost, or worse, tax the network and cause a power disruption, said Mr Pizzari.

Telco M1 has implemented a new technology to help it manage its 4G mobile network more efficiently and reduce the risk of overload.

Called Traffix Signalling Delivery Controller Diameter, it acts like a traffic cop, ensuring that data signals are routed to the right destinations accurately and on time.

Mobile offerings are M1's core business so the new system is seen as being critical in allowing the firm to provide better service for customers both here and overseas.

The 4G or LTE (long-term evolution) networks are primarily for smartphone users accessing mobile broadband data services.

The surge in popularity of such services means network traffic has also increased.

Mobile data usage doubled from more than 1 PB in mid-2009 - 1 PB is equal to 50,000 high-definition movies - to nearly 3PB a year later and has more than doubled since, according to figures from Infocomm Development Authority.

Without Traffix, the data signals would still find their own way but some could be lost, or worse, tax the network and cause a power disruption, said Mr Robert Pizzari, the director of service provider sales for Asia-Pacific at F5 Networks, which provides Traffix to M1.

The price of the system was not disclosed by M1 or F5 Networks.

The new technology is also important because it helps telcos manage data traffic flow from and to 3G and 4G networks. This system also works when a customer is on mobile data roaming overseas.

Mr Pizzari told The Straits Times recently: "With better data traffic management, a telco could get lots of data on customer usage patterns. They can use this information to offer new services."

When a user turns on a smartphone, data signals are automatically sent across the network.

For example, some apps send out data on a location or if the smartphone is being used overseas, information that has to be sent back to a telco's billing systems.

All of this messaging in the background can overwhelm a 4G network, something that happened to Verizon Wireless in the United States in 2011 and Japan's NTT DoCoMo in 2012.

chngkeg@sph.com.sg

Background story

USAGE PATTERNS

With better data traffic management, a telco could get lots of data on customer usage patterns. They can use this information to offer new services.

- Mr Robert Pizzari, the director of service provider sales for Asia-Pacific at F5 Networks, which provides Traffix to M1

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