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Nikos Tsantanis
Senior Product Marketing Engineer,
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Policy Management for the Agile Operator pdf (392Kb)

News in Brief

Policy Management for the Agile Operator:
How CSPs stay competitive by deploying new policy services on their own - without implementation burdens
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With the proliferation of mobile broadband Internet, all Communication Service Providers (CSP) struggle to balance three conflicting goals: optimize utilization of their network capacity, introduce innovative, revenue-generating services and at the same time maintain a superb customer experience.

Policy Management is now widely regarded as a critical strategic component for IP networks, helping CSPs meet this challenge and better serve the needs of an ever growing and demanding subscriber population.

Those in search of best-of-breed policies and CSP services who would like to maximize their competitive advantage in a constantly changing market, need to create and assess new policy scenarios on an ongoing and agile basis. For such a purpose, the service creation environments commonly available comprise scripting languages, visual configuration interfaces and/or workflow engines.

However, despite the sophistication of these tools, creating new services, or modifying existing ones typically requires the intervention of the vendor or an integrator that will translate policy requirements into services. This dependency on third-parties results in slow time-to-market and increased total cost of ownership. Even when CSPs use workflows, as an attempt to overcome the sense of "hardwired" policies, performance issues arise.

These drawbacks stifle service agility and may even force CSPs to settle for "one size fits all" generic policies, missing thus valuable opportunities to address the needs of niche market segments with unique, specific characteristics. In an ideal situation, the CSP's marketing team would prefer to be self-sufficient in conceptualizing, defining and deploying new services as frequently as necessary, free from technical or implementation burdens.

To this end, it is imperative to efficiently perform three major steps:

  1. Visualize all the available policy decision & enforcement building blocks, through a complete "panorama" of the available options to choose from. Such a service definition mechanism, as simple as "mix & match", is essential in unleashing the creativity of the marketing team when seeking to match the needs and preferences of a subscriber group.
  2. Capture the business logic of the conceived service into a near-natural language, fully understandable and manageable by a non-technical, commercially-oriented team. The best case would be if such a language permitted to specify what is needed, leaving the how to be determined by the system. This way, all technical details would be transparent to the user.
  3. Deploy the policies already defined, in the aforementioned visual or nearnatural language forms, by simply importing them into an intelligent policy execution platform. This platform would automatically take care of all activation and execution specifics by responding to incoming network- or system-generated events and triggers.

At INTRACOM TELECOM we believe that such a vision of Policy Management agility can be achieved not only by providing the right platform & tools but also by enabling the CSP to use them in a 'do-it-yourself' manner.

Our unique approach supports and accelerates all steps associated with the Policy Management lifecycle and helps improve the CSP's agility. It combines a Conceptual Framework for Policy Definition and a modern, powerful Production Rules System.

The Framework contributes insights and a structured approach for defining new services and capturing the respective logic in a policy rules-enabled spreadsheet template.

The Production Rules System receives the defined rules and implements their logic in an asynchronous, non-sequential highperformance manner.

ActionRuler maximizing network value
Conceptual Framework for Policy Definition

The most typical policy-based services that a CSP would like to introduce, can be expressed in terms of two sets of "coordinates":

  1. Policy Decision Parameters (PDP) reflecting network activity, service delivery or other internal or external entities like time, data volume, network type, protocol, content type, etc. PDPs serve as logical conditions.
  2. Policy Enforcement Constructs (PEC) that affect the way by which the subscriber accesses network resources (imposing restrictions, throttling, shaping or simply prioritizing). PECs can include entities that can be subject to enforcement like data transfer speed, application priority, web address access, etc.

These coordinates can be visualized in INTRACOM TELECOM's Policy Definition Matrix, shown in figure 1 (simplified, for illustration purposes).

By combining PDPs with PECs in a many-tomany, non-linear relationship, CSPs have the flexibility to visually define arbitrarily simple or complex, policy-related services ready to be imported to and executed by the Policy Management platform.

Production Rules System

Expert Systems, is a technology which was initially introduced in the 1980s to capture experts' knowledge in a non-algorithmic and continuously evolving fashion. Since then, these technologies have matured into Production Rules Systems which are ideal for implementing Policy Management solutions.

A modern Rules Engine incorporates two key components:

  1. A Domain Specific Language (DSL) which is custom designed to allow the definition of Policy Rules. This is achieved by providing access to a wealth of system functionality at business level, hiding the technical details from the end user
  2. An Inference Engine that is able to scale to a large number of DSL rules and facts. In the context of Policy Management, the Inference Engine matches facts against Rules to infer conclusions (Policy Decisions) which result in enabling actions (Policy Enforcements). The Inference Engine's performance is not affected by the complexity or type of rules implemented via the utilization of highly efficient rules evaluation algorithms.
ActionRuler: an Agile Policy Management Platform

ActionRuler, INTRACOM TELECOM's stateof-the-art, 3GPP-compatible, carrier-grade Policy Management solution, employs a spreadsheet-compatible user interface for realizing Policy Definition Matrix logic and a powerful policy-specific DSL for advanced implementations. Fast integration with the underlying B/OSS and network elements is enabled through a broad, off-the-shelf repository of adapters.

With ActionRuler, CSPs have all the tools and operational performance they need to swiftly define and deploy winning policybased commercial offerings in a fastpaced competitive telecom environment.

For more information on how leading international telcos are exploiting INTRACOM TELECOM's ActionRuler solution in maximizing their network's value, please visit or contact

Intracom Telecom's Policy Definition Matrix fig. INTRACOM TELECOM's Policy Definition Matrix