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mgrayson
Cisco Employee

Does cellular offload hinder distribution of the mobile packet core?

Fixed broadband Internet access has largely addressed scaling by increased levels of distribution; subscriber aware BNG functionality which may have been centrally located has been pushed out further in the network as video loads have increased. The question is, do the same rules apply for mobile? Should we expect increased mobile broadband speeds and adoption to result in increased levels of distribution of packet core functionality?

Whilst the increased mobile broadband speeds should drive towards a more distributed approach, the increasing acceptance that classical macro RAN infrastructure needs to be offloaded using WiFi or Femto should act as an impediment to full distribution. Operators' ability to position "OTT offload propositions" which are decoupled from traditional ISPs means that if such traffic needs to be routed via the MNO's network, e.g., for converged policy enforcement or to meet other regulatory requirements, then this will be frequently presented via a centralized POP.

The answer to the question then as to how distributed a mobile packet core becomes may well be influenced by how successful the MNO is at offloading its RAN - those operators successfully lowering the cost of production of mobile broadband by offloading peak traffic from their macro network may be less inclined to distribute all packet core functions.

Thoughts?

Mark

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