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Unresolved issues for end to end policy

Is policy control coming of age?

With all the brouhaha surrounding the emerging policy market, it’s tempting to think that this is finally maturing. Recent analysis points to strong and confidant growth in sales of equipment required for implementing and enforcing policy control. Of course, this is indeed positive, but we think there’s a long way to go before policy really fulfils its potential and it’s probably premature to make clear judgements.

Written by
Guy Redmill
Published on
11 May 2011

It may be more accurate to suggest that the policy child is just about taking hesitant strides and should be out of nappies soon. We spoke to Randy Fuller of Tekelec recently and his views seemed to confirm this impression. While there are very many positive signs and strong growth for vendors such as Tekelec et al, it’s clear that policy is being applied to some fundamental problems and has yet to evolve to the more sophisticated approach that we can all expect in time.

Most deployments are primarily concerned with two basic dimensions: that is, the primary driver for PCRF deployments is to ensure that terms and conditions of user packages are met and that compliance with the appropriate pricing plan is achieved. Beyond that, bill shock and customer services are the secondary focus.

Now, this is excellent news and it’s good to see that the industry is moving towards adoption of policy driven frameworks. Randy told us that a few years ago the issue wasn’t really recognised, as it was believed that bandwidth would solve the problem. Things have changed markedly in recent years, but it’s also clear that the more sophisticated visions for policy-driven networks are some way off.

Indeed, there remain areas to address to ensure that networks can really support this vision. In fixed and mobile networks, for example, there has been limited discussion of the goal of access to client devices – something which will be a requirement for true end-to-end policy delivery. Well, we say there is little discussion of this, but of course our friends at GoS Networks are extremely busy articulating how and where this can be achieved.

So, policy control remains a work in progress and we are looking forward to obtaining practical updates from this year’s TMW. But, it seems safe to say that policy is more of a toddler than an infant.

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