Policy and Charging

Wi-Fi Policy Control

The brains of your Wi-Fi service

The Aptilo SMP Wi-Fi policy control engine, in tight integration with our Wi-Fi AAA, is the “brains” of the Wi-Fi service. This is 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 continued to focus on Wi-Fi as our core business. This history has given us the most powerful and advanced Wi-Fi policy control engine in the business with all the 3GPP diameter interfaces in place.

Our Wi-Fi policy control engine goes beyond a standard policy solution by adding 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.

Distributed Wi-Fi policy control environment

Policies reside in many different nodes. In reality, operators have a distributed policy model. Insightful policy decisions depend also on real-time data from the production environment.

Thanks to the flexible protocol adapter concept and the Aptilo ServiceGlue™ with intelligent data lookups from external data sources, the Aptilo SMP Wi-Fi policy control engine works well in a distributed policy environment. It can lookup policies from the different distributed policy functions. Then make a new policy decision based on these policies, 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. Why not add the Aptilo SMP Wi-Fi policy control engine as an adjunct PCRF for Wi-Fi policies?  We can work in concert with your exiting policy control solutions and handle the policies for the Wi-Fi service.

Redefining what flexibility really means

The requirements for Wi-Fi policy control have changed only over the last few years. From simple policies such as upload limits and parental control, the policies used today are far more complex and need to change more frequently in order for you to stay competitive. It is no longer sufficient just to have a fixed set of parameters. You cannot remain competitive when you must wait for the next software release or custom development to add a new parameter and business logic.

With Aptilo’s Wi-Fi policy control solution you can add new parameters and business logic as configuration of the system. In addition, we can add new interfaces and protocols to interact with external systems. In the 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 Wi-Fi policy control engine

The application layer in the Aptilo SMP Wi-Fi policy control engine is separate from the interface layer. The most common protocol adapters such as Diameter, RADIUS, REST, XML / SOAP, LDAP and SNMP are already there. We can add new interfaces, even proprietary ones, through our flexible protocol adapter concept.

Save on costs by controlling the end-user experience

There are several ways that our Wi-Fi policy control engine can help you to control the end-user experience and save on costs. The best part of all is that the flexibility of our solution will add more ways, implemented with a simple configuration. Policies defined in the Aptilo SMP Wi-Fi control engine are enforced by gateways from Aptilo’s many ecosystem partners.

Below you will find some of the most common policy rules.

Fair-use policies

With the ever-increasing launch of new device types and applications with demand for Wi-Fi connectivity operators need to set policies to get a fair use of network resources. With Aptilo, you 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. 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 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 throttle 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

You can set policies to e.g. prioritize business customers during daytime/weekdays and consumers after hours/weekends and implement differentiated rating at different hours.

Web self-care triggered service changes

Integration with operator’s web self-care portal enables automatically triggered policy changes 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 route only parts of the traffic through high-cost nodes such as DPI systems.

Selling static public IP addresses

With Aptilo’s policy-based IP assignment and routing, operators can easily offer public IP addresses as an additional service.

Tiered services

With the flexibility in our service profile concept the operator can 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, bandwidth, applications or any other parameter that the operator may want to add in the service definition.

Bill shock prevention

Aptilo SMP Wi-Fi policy control solution enables operators to send automatic notifications to users when they are over a certain threshold in their data usage. Subscribers can also set thresholds with associated warnings through integration with web self-care portals.

Location-based promotions

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.

Loyalty programs

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.

Parental control

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.

  • Pre-paid data balance

  • Policy-based IP routing

  • Distributed policy

  • Configurable logic

  • Interface adapters

  • Fair-use policies

  • Speed throttling

  • Time-based policies

  • Bill shock prevention

  • Location-based services

Aptilo’s product are extremely stable, which has radically reduced the time we need to spend on support and maintenance. This means that we have been able to free valuable time for development of our services.

Anjali Bhatnagar
Anjali Bhatnagar Nordic product panager for wireless networks, Telenor

From being just one of the many services that we provide, our Wi-Fi offering has rapidly become a strategic tool for optimizing the use of our networks assets. The ability to offer customers a first-class user experience gives us a competitive edge.

John BerminghamSenior Product Manager - Data Products, eircom Group