Ubiquisys and Saguna team up to launch small cell-based caching solution

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Small cells developer Ubiquisys has announced a new partnership with Saguna Networks to provide a small cell-based caching solution to help ease traffic congestion on mobile operators’ networks.

Saguna provides Radio Access Network (RAN) application acceleration and mobile content delivery software that works over HSPA and LTE networks.

Working together with Ubiquisys’ “smart cell” 3G/4G/WiFi hotspots, the two companies aim to ease traffic congestion on operators’ networks by reducing the need to go back to the core network constantly when large packets of data, such as a YouTube video, are repeatedly pulled from the internet.

“The solution works by having a second cache stored in the base station at the edge of the network, as close as we can get to the end user,” explained Pete Keevill, Ubiquisys’ VP of engineering and co-founder.

“Instead of having large packets of data repeatedly pulled from the internet by teenagers keen to see the next Justin Bieber video, the video is stored in the base station so only small tags remain on the network.”

Saguna Networks’ CEO Lior Fite told Mobile Europe: “Our caching solution can double the speed of the mobile Internet experience at a significantly lower opex and capex expense to the operator.

He said “a number of tier one operators in Europe and Asia” are currently trialing the solution.

Saguna claims that their RAN-based dynamic video optimisation solution enables between 10 to 30 percent more data to go over the same LTE evolved NodeB (eNB) in the DNS cache.

Further, they claim to have shortened the download time of almost any page by 0.5 seconds to 1 second, while the content cache has resulted on 30 to 50 percent backhaul savings and significantly faster download time.

Caroline Gabriel, research director at Maravedis-Rethink, told Mobile Europe that RAN-based content caching solutions are growing in importance as operators look to manage the growth in traffic more efficiently.

“This [Ubiquisys and Saguna] deal is particularly interesting because it focuses on small cells. As cells get smaller, the content can be held even closer to the customer and this can have benefits for the user’s quality of experience, and even for added value services in future, as well as just making the network more efficient.”

There are plenty of challenges remaining, according to Gabriel.

“The smart cell is something of an experimental idea at this time. Big challenges are getting powerful links, preferably fibre backhaul, to small cells; achieving mature standards for multivendor small cells to work together and with the cloud; adapting back end systems like BSS, charging and content delivery networks to work with small cells and to share the processing/intelligence through the network from edge to core,” she said.

However, having an end-to-end view of network traffic is more important than just focusing on the edge, says The Kenton Group CTO Ben Howarth.

“If you are only looking at niche parts of the network, you might be able to say that I'll give this particular customer a specific bandwidth stream, but if that goes wrong and you don't have any visibility upstream of that, then you're blind to how you fix the perception of quality that your user has,” he told Mobile Europe.

“Our focus is beginning to move away from the edge, towards end-to-end, as it's only with having an end-to-end view of the traffic and its sources and controlling it in a more orderly fashion so that you are able to fully manage the user’s quality of experience.”

READ MORE: Optimise at the edge for "40% backhaul savings"