Late last month, Nominum launched the world’s first purpose-built suite of DNS-based solutions for mobile operators at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona Spain.
Doug Miller, GM, Mobile Solutions, Nominum, said that Nominum has been in the mobile space for many years now. The news at MWC was to announce the new Nominum Mobile Suite, which takes the lessons learned and best practices from working closely with the top mobile providers in the world to craft purpose-built solutions designed to solve very specific mobile provider needs.
He added: "With the demand on mobile networks at its highest and only growing by the day, mobile providers face specific issues their fixed line counterparts simply do not. For example, the concept of spectrum efficiency is a mobile issue and something Nominum can help with via solutions crafted around our core engines, platforms and applications. There are other examples like this built on both network and subscriber needs."
DNS and DHCP core engines
So, what are the DNS and DHCP core engines all about? According to Miller, typically when people think of core engines such as DNS and DHCP, the need to respond to queries and enable basic mobile routing and provisioning come to mind. These engines were considered single-purpose network functions. Nothing more, nothing less. However, although these functions are still vital, beyond the base requirements, there are a number of considerations that must also be taken into account.
At the base level, these engines must be considered for latency and availability to ensure the fastest and most reliable network services. Without considering this, the network may have lower performance or potentially become unavailable in its entirety. Further, the concept of network orchestration must be considered. Without these engines, mobile networks simply do not work. This is very different from fixed networks that are not as reliant on DNS as mobile networks. In the case of mobile, there are a number of control plane functions that must be considered.
Arguably more important than these functions is the ability to deliver business-impacting solutions. The concept of spectrum efficiency was already mentioned, but consider the ability to report on customer and network activity. This is a function that was simply never considered when talking about DNS and DHCP. However, with these elements in place, an entirely new world of reporting and analytics is opened up without the need for additional hardware components being added to the network that create additional complexity or add new risks.
Similarly, these engines can also be the basis for subscriber affinity solutions that generate new revenue and add a new dimension to the battle on churn by creating stickiness not possible previously. Simply put, DNS and DHCP can and should be leveraged for more than they have been historically for true business value.
Helping operators move to 4G
How will all of this help operators who have moved on to 4G? Miller noted: "While it was already mentioned how mobile networks rely heavily on the DNS for routing and control plane functions, the move to 4G will only serve to increase this reliance. In the 3G world, there are a handful of functions that use the DNS to enable users to connect and roam. These are also available on the 4G side, but in addition to those, the 4G networks will also add new functions that increase networking flexibility but carry with them an added element of complexity.
"The DNS serves to enable this flexibility by providing the broad network orchestration required to make 4G networks work. In addition, the DNS is a control point for “interworking” which ensures 4G devices can roam on a 3G network. Add on the increased demand for spectrum and offerings such as Nominum’s Spectrum Efficiency solution become far more vital."