Applying Policies from Mobile Core via Intelligent Lookups
It is possible – via our ServiceGlue functionality – to intelligently map different policy decisions implemented at the mobile operator to the corresponding parameters in the Wi-Fi network. Policy decisions can be looked up from any database at the mobile operator that supports SOAP/XML, LDAP, or RADIUS.
Policy decisions can include:
- Allowed locations for access
- Volume/time limitations
- Quality of Service (QoS)
- Prepaid or postpaid
- Type of user
For instance, a subscriber’s service level data can be retrieved from the CRM system and mapped to Quality of Service (QoS) parameters in the Wi-Fi network. With Enea Aptilo SMP, the mobile operator can control the user experience even for locally offloaded traffic without having to backhaul traffic to the mobile core, which is a common scenario in the 3GPP architecture.
Applying Policies from the Mobile Core via Diameter Gx Interface
Mobile operators may have an existing PCRF for handling policy and charging decisions. These decisions are then communicated via the Diameter Gx interface to the packet gateway node (GGSN / P-GW / DPI nodes), which enforces the policies in the mobile network.
In Enea’s mobile data offloading solution, the policies from the PCRF are retrieved via the Diameter Gx interface and intelligently converted (via the Aptilo ServiceGlue mapping functionality) to the corresponding parameters in the Wi-Fi network to the extent of the capabilities of the specific Wi-Fi network.
The same principles applies for the 5G architecture with the PCF function.
The policy converter in our solution is designed also to enable mapping and translation of policies to the specific attributes from vendors such as Aruba, Cisco and Ruckus utilizing their proprietary QoS control.
Examples of advanced QoS features are the Enea Aptilo SMP Automatic Bandwidth Balancer function where all available bandwidth is evenly distributed among active user sessions, or Aptilo Dynamic Bandwidth Throttling where a user gets a “bucket” of data and bandwidth is automatically and gradually throttled down as the “bucket” is consumed.
Applying policies from the Aptilo Service Management Platform
An alternative solution to the PCRF/PCF is to provision policies for the Wi-Fi sessions directly in the service management system for the Wi-Fi service. This have its merits as these systems typically understand Wi-Fi policies better than the standard PCRF/PCF. The Enea Aptilo SMP (software) and SMP-S (service on AWS), features a built-in Wi-Fi policy manager which has been proven in large-scale Wi-Fi deployments globally. Mobile operators can provision it with policies for the Wi-Fi users via one of our APIs or manually via GUI. It is also possible to combine this with the optional pre-integrated prepaid and captive portal functionality.
User billing in the Wi-Fi network
Depending on the business model, the mobile operator may want to bill users in the Wi-Fi network or deny access if their prepaid accounts are depleted.
For prepaid billing, the Enea Aptilo SMP optional built-in prepaid system can check out quota (credits, time, and/or Mb) from the mobile operator’s prepaid system (PPS). This can be done via our Quota Provider API or Diameter Gy. Usage is then reported back to the prepaid system. Alternatively, our solution can act independently from the mobile core as the prepaid system for Wi-Fi usage and get top-up via integration with the mobile operator’s self-care portal.
For postpaid billing, Aptilo’s Mobile Data Offloading solution can send Charging Data Records (CDRs) and accounting data to the mobile operator’s billing system via Aptilo’s native billing interface or through the Diameter Gz interface.
Full Integration with Mobile Core through Diameter
The Enea Aptilo SMP SIM Authentication function, the Diameter conversion functionality, and/or Aptilo ServiceGlue work in concert to provide a mobile data offloading experience that is seamless not only for the subscriber but for the mobile core as well. Policies can be retrieved from different sources via the Diameter Gx and then be translated to the corresponding parameters and mechanisms in the Wi-Fi network.
With Aptilo’s Diameter conversion functionality, operators can transparently control and charge for services via standard Diameter (Gx, Gy and Gz) interfaces in the Wi-Fi network with the same mechanisms that they are using in the cellular network. These can still be differentiated for Wi-Fi usage.
Wi-Fi Usage Statistics to Facilitate Roaming
Even if the end-users are not billed for the service, usage still needs to be monitored for mediation and rating with roaming partners and to understand user behavior and how much data traffic has been offloaded from the cellular networks.