Research at Cisco

Impact of Video, Mobile and OTT Traffic Patterns on Next-generation Broadband Aggregation Networks

Cisco is not currently accepting proposals for this RFP.

Project ID:



Modeling the impact of fixed-mobile converged broadband aggregation architectures on Service Provider Capital Expenditures


The increasing dominance of traffic generated by mobile end systems is challenging the network architectures of many mobile Service Providers (SPs). The similarities between mobile and wireline broadband network in terms of user session scalability, session services (AAA, portals, DPI, security etc.) motivate SPs to evaluate various fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) architectures. We invite researchers to model such converged FMC architectures and offer evaluations from a capital expenditure (CAPEX) perspective.

Full Description:

Mobile traffic has been growing at exponential rates in recent years, fuelled by increasingly sophisticated end systems such as the Apple iPhone. This trend is expected to continue over the next 5 years. The Cisco Visual Networking Index forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 131% in the period between 2008 and 2013. This study forecasts that the traffic is becoming increasingly focused on mobile video, mobile data and mobile peer-to-peer.

Existing mobile network architectures are challenged by such growth rates. Mobile Aggregation and Core Network Architectures follow predominantly the centralized paradigm, where traffic from mobile users is backhauled using carrier-ethernet technologies towards a few mobile data centers. These then offer the necessary gateway, billing and accounting and mobility management functionalities. Such architectures have proven cost-effective for low bandwidth mobile traffic rates, but may be significantly challenged by the traffic evolution shown above.

Many mobile Service Providers are looking to deploy long-term evolution (LTE) based services in the near future. This evolution offers the possibility of adopting a new mobile aggregation architecture, for example by distributing mobile gateway functionality further out into the network (closer to mobile subscribers) or by potentially off-loading traffic into the Internet in the RAN Aggregation locations.

Furthermore, some Tier-1 SPs with both mobile and wireline broadband services are considering fixed-mobile convergence strategies, where carrier-ethernet based aggregation networks are used to aggregate both mobile and wireline broadband data services. This is motivated by the similarities of such services from the perspective of authentication, authorization and accounting, lawful intercept, network-address translation (NAT), or portal solutions.

We invite proposals to model future fixed-mobile converged aggregation network architectures, allowing for the flexible placement of various network functions (gateway, broadband, firewall, Session border controller etc.) at different levels of the aggregation hierarchy. Such an evaluation should take the anticipated traffic volume and patterns, as well as different networking equipment and link bandwidths into account. The model should enable the evaluation of different FMC architectures from a CAPEX perspective. Questions such as should all be addressable by the model.

  • How far can centralized mobile gateway functionality scale with the anticipated traffic patterns?
  • What are the CAPEX implications of integrating PGW functionality into aggregation nodes?
  • At what network node should mobile VoIP functionality be executed?

Constraints and other information:

IPR will stay with the University. Cisco expects customary scholarly dissemination of results, and hopes that promising results would be made available to the community without limiting licenses, royalties, or other encumbrances.

Proposal submission:

Please use the link below to submit a proposal for research responding to this RFP. After a preliminary review, we may ask you to revise and resubmit your proposal.

Cisco is not currently accepting proposals for this RFP.

RFPs may be withdrawn as research proposals are funded, or interest in the specific topic is satisfied. Researchers should plan to submit their proposals as soon as possible. The deadline for Submissions is the Friday of the first week of each calendar quarter (the months of January, April, July, October). Funding decisions and communication will occur within 90 days from the quarterly submission deadline. The usage of funding is expected within 12 months of funding decision. Please plan your requests accordingly.

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