The Mobile World Congress is coming up —February 27th to March 2 in Barcelona, Spain — and Citrix will be there to show our latest products and solutions.

Before the event, I am going to write a couple of blog posts to highlight, in particular, how Citrix NetScaler can help service providers drive better customer experience and compete more effectively.

At the show this year, Citrix will showcase a number of solutions to drive new ways of engaging customers and new ways of working. For Service Providers, NetScaler can improve the mobile customer experience in the new world of encrypted traffic, SDN and NFV by:

  • Letting you regain control of the mobile customer experience with NetScaler encrypted video optimization technology, using QUIC or HTTPS
  • Improving download speeds by 30% or more and improving network utilization 50% or more.
  • Driving down operational costs by consolidating a number of network services on software deployed on COTS hardware.
  • Integrating seamlessly with NFV orchestration and Software Defined Networks.
  • Protecting your investment with pooled capacity licensing.

Lets take a look at some of the challenges facing mobile service-providers today and then look in some detail at what Citrix is announcing.

Mobile service providers are under intense economic pressure from traditional and new over-the-top competitors while traffic growth is relentless. Customers are hyper-connected, using multiple devices to consume video, apps and data in increasing quantities.

According to the latest CISCO VISUAL NETWORKING INDEX:

  • Global mobile data traffic grew 63 percent in 2016 after growing 18 fold over the past 5 years.
  • Mobile video traffic accounted for 60 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2016.

In addition encrypted traffic is reaching very high penetration levels in all regions. both HTTPS and QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connection) traffic have seen rapid growth in video delivery. This is making it more difficult for operators to enhance and improve the customer experience on their networks with traditional tools.

To support this growth, operators have been investing in 4G networks to support increased traffic and are now preparing to invest massively in 5G technology.

So, how does a service–provider manage to drive profitability and secure new revenue streams?

To compete effectively, mobile service providers must continue to deliver a premium customer experience to ensure loyalty, as well as attract new subscribers. In many countries, wireless customer experience results are measured and published, putting constant pressure on measuring and improving performance. By embracing new networking technologies which can handle encrypted traffic, service providers can defend and grow the top-line by providing better customer-experience and launching new services.

In parallel, mobile operators must also continue to drive down operational costs and provide increased flexibility to accelerate time to market for new services. In order to do this they must deploy all-IP networks and embrace virtualization technology such as NFV and SDN to create software-defined networks which can exploit the benefits of employing standard hardware.

At the Mobile World Congress, Citrix will announce the availability of encrypted video management in the NetScaler Mobile Gateway. In addition to TCP optimization for mobile networks which is already available and widely deployed on NetScaler, this new network function allows the identification and optimization of encrypted Adaptive Bit Rate Video running over TCP or QUIC. This has potential to reduce bandwidth usage by up to 50% and has also been proven in customer deployments to drive significant reduction in video stalling and improve overall customer experience when cells become congested.

mwc mobile netscaler

We are also announcing a number of other enhancements to the Netscaler Mobile Gateway. As well as optimization services, services that are available include a full featured CGNAT service, DNS services, content filtering and traffic steering. All these services are available as software which can be deployed as Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) in a virtualized environment or consolidated on high-performance carrier-grade T1000 appliances. All these features together permit the full consolidation and virtualization of the services in the Gi-LAN and can be seamlessly managed and orchestrated with the NetScaler Management and Analytics System (NetScaler MAS).

mobile gateway

In summary, the Netscaler Mobile Gateway allows you to drive cost savings in two main ways: Firstly, you can consolidate a number of networking services traditionally delivered by separate appliances into a single software product with consistent management and orchestration. Secondly the NetScaler Gateway software is fully integrated in NFV and SDN environments and can run on COTS hardware or any cloud.

In my next post, I will talk a little more about the transformation of the mobile network and the role of orchestration, as well as discussing the need for new licensing models to enable network transformation. I will also talk about how to achieve, in software, the performance and scalability required by mobile service-providers.

A demonstration of the Netscaler Mobile Gateway can be seen at Mobile World Congress. Contact for more information or to book an appointment at MWC.