Our Wi-Fi policy control solution, the Aptilo Policy PCRF+ Core used in combination with the Aptilo Wi-Fi AAA+ Core, is the “brains” of the Wi-Fi service. This is in essence, where services are defined and personalized and policies created to control which users access the Internet, their service level (QoS) and billing.
We have been working with Wi-Fi policies ever since our first deployment back in 2001. Over the years Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution evolved to also work as a standard 3GPP PCRF (Policy and Charging Rules Function) and it is still live in some large scale 3G/LTE deployments. Since then we have decided to focus on our core business Wi-Fi. This history has given us the most powerful and advanced Wi-Fi policy engine in the business with all the 3GPP diameter interfaces in place.
The Aptilo Policy PCRF+ Core also goes beyond the scope of a standard Wi-Fi policy solution with the addition of three optional pre-integrated modules:
- A prepaid data balance module
- A policy-based IP assignment module
- A policy-based routing module
This allows us to deliver a full solution for service definition and delivery, covering all aspects of the service. That is why we call it PCRF+.
Designed for a distributed policy environment
Policies reside in many different nodes. In reality, operators have a distributed policy model. Insightful policy decisions are also increasingly dependent on real-time data from the production environment.
Thanks to the highly flexible protocol adapter concept and the Aptilo ServiceGlue™ with intelligent data lookups from external data sources, the Aptilo Wi-Fi policy control solution is designed to work well in a distributed policy environment. It can lookup policies from the different distributed policy functions and then make a new policy decision based on that in combination with real-time data and its own comprehensive and dynamic policy definitions.
One example is policies for the Wi-Fi network in a mobile data offloading scenario. Many existing 3GPP PCRFs are designed for mobile networks and thus weak in the Wi-Fi arena. Wi-Fi policy systems do not generally work well with standard based 3GPP PCRFs. Why not add the Aptilo PCRF+ Core as an adjunct PCRF for Wi-Fi policies? After all, this is what Aptilo has been focusing on since our inception in 2001. We can work in concert with your exiting policy control solutions and handle the policies for the Wi-Fi service.
A complex world calls for a flexible Wi-Fi policy control solution
The requirements for Wi-Fi policy control have rapidly changed only over the last few years. From simple policies such as monthly upload limits and parental control, the policies used today are far more complex and need to be changed more frequently in order for the operator to stay competitive.
It is no longer sufficient just to have a fixed set of parameters that can be dynamically changed. Operators cannot remain competitive when they must wait for the next software release or custom development to add a new parameter and business logic.
Do you need to add a new parameter or add a new source of input for a Wi-Fi policy control decision? No problem. The highly flexible architecture, both in terms of adding new interfaces and protocols as well as new business logic by means of a simple configuration, makes the Aptilo Policy PCRF+ Core ideal for carrier Wi-Fi operations where rapid time-to-market of new services is critical and where flexibility for an ever-changing reality is a must.
Redefining what flexibility really means
With Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution new parameters and business logic can be dynamically added as configuration of the system. In the highly competitive Wi-Fi market this can mean the difference between taking the first initiative and winning or being stuck with existing business models and losing.
Interface-agnostic policy control engine
The application layer in Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution is separated from the interface layer. The most common protocol adapters such as Diameter, RADIUS, XML / SOAP, LDAP, BGP and SNMP are already implemented.
Additional new interfaces – even proprietary ones – can be introduced through Aptilo’s flexible protocol adapter concept.
Helping operators save on costs by controlling the end-user experience
By creating different Service Profiles that specify different product characteristics, and mixing the different Service Profiles, a variety of products can be defined and offered. The Service Profile concept creates a tool for operators to create services that cater to different user groups, and market segments in a flexible and easy-to-manage fashion.
Policy decisions can be pushed down to gateways from Aptilo’s ecosystem partners for enforcement of, for instance, quality of service (QoS). The QoS parameters can be standards based and/or vendor specific.
There are a number of ways that Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution can help operators to control the end-user experience and save on costs. The best part of all is that the flexibility of Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution will dynamically add more ways, all of which can be implemented with a simple configuration by the operator.
With the ever-increasing launch of new device types and applications with demand for Wi-Fi connectivity operators need to set policies to obtain a fair use of network resources. With Aptilo, the operator can take control by defining volume data caps, enable different service plans for different user segments and even different device types. Policies can be defined to set usage conditions such as restricting usage of certain applications. Available bandwidth can also be fairly distributed over all users.
Service-triggered QoS changes
Instead of allowing a high bandwidth usage at all times, services such as video-on-demand (VoD) can automatically trigger a higher bandwidth for the duration of the movie.
Speed throttling in thresholds
Thanks to the tight integration of policy and charging, speeds can be throttling down in thresholds with different speeds depending on how much of the monthly allowance has already been consumed.
Tiered service based on time of day and day of week
Policies can be set to e.g. prioritize businesses during daytime / weekdays and consumers after hours / week-ends as well as use of differentiated rating at different hours.
Web self-care triggered service changes
Aptilo’s optional Web self-care portal or integration with an existing portal enables operators to automatically trigger a policy change as a result of a subscriber’s on-line Web self-care activities.
More effective use of available IP addresses and routing
With Aptilo’s policy-based IP assignment and routing control, the operator can assign IP from a common IP-address pool rather than anchoring IP blocks for each gateway. This provides a more effective use of available address space. The policy-based IP routing allows the operator to flexibly route only parts of the traffic through high-cost nodes such as DPI systems.
Helping operators gain additional revenue
Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution has a number of value-added functions. Functions that will help operators to monetize their Wi-Fi service by gaining additional revenue.
Selling static public IP addresses
With Aptilo’s policy-based IP assignment and routing, the mobile operator can easily offer public IP addresses as an additional service.
With the flexibility in Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution, the operator can easily define new services, even for shorter periods, allowing them to find additional revenue streams. The services can be based on any combination of data volume, time, speed, applications or any other parameter that the operator may want to add in the service definition.
Policy-controlled user interaction
With the highly personalized services enabled by the Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution it is important to be able to engage and communicate with subscribers in an automatic and controlled manner.
Bill shock prevention
Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution enables operators to send automatic notifications to users when they are over a certain threshold in their data usage or are roaming. Furthermore, it allows the operator to engage with customers in real-time to encourage them to spend more on e.g. roaming by giving them control and visibility over their spending status. Thresholds can also be set by the subscribers with associated warnings through Aptilo’s optional Web self-care portals or through integration with existing portals.
Operators can reenforce their brand by executing well-balanced marketing programs through notifications via SMS/email of new services or reminders of services. Offerings can be localized by triggering notifications based on location data.
Subscribers can be engaged through notifications and rewarded based on length of relationship, spending and any other parameters that the operator wants to define in their loyalty program.
Parents worry about their children’s online behaviors. With Aptilo, the operator can offer policies for parental control integrating with Web content filtering and use our time-of-day restrictions and spending limits. With the optional hierarchical account structure, families can share e.g. the same prepaid quota and distribute it over several family members and device types. The optional Web self-care portal allows parents to define parental control parameters for their individual child.