Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) will lead the field of mobile network test and optimization solutions by 2013 and is expected to generate equipment revenues of $1.3 billion in 2015, according to a new study from ABI Research entitled “Mobile Network Optimization.” Other approaches include client applications on handsets, radio test equipment and radio probes, routing/transport equipment, operation support software, and network-based offloading.

Mobile operators’ network capacity woes have garnered much public attention, and according to ABI’s mobile networks practice director Aditya Kaul, they will get worse before they get better. “Brute force won’t solve this problem,” he said in a statement. “If you double the number of smartphone users, you can’t just spend $10 billion to double the capacity of your infrastructure.”

The answer lies in making existing networks more efficient. A growing arsenal of equipment and techniques from a variety of vendors aim to optimize different parts of the network and base station.

“These solutions are relatively inexpensive and cost-effective,” said Kaul.

Each operator may have a different set of needs. AT&T, the most publicized example, has two problems: too much data traffic (iPhone video, for example) and also too much signaling traffic – the mechanics of running the network. According to Kaul, they would need DPI, routing/transport optimization, and maybe some UE client software installed on the smartphone. Other operators may have very different challenges.
 
To meet those needs, solutions are arriving from a variety of vendors including Tektronix Communications, Anritsu, Agilent, EXFO, Astellia, and a large “other” group of vendors that collectively command a 28 percent share of the market. It is from that “other” group that much of this segment’s innovation will flow, according to ABI.

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