Zeugma aims to redefine edge
A Canadian start-up company with a Greek name is introducing a new approach to delivering broadband services designed to streamline delivery and pump up revenues for service providers. Zeugma Systems is drawing heavily on the legacy of its founder and chief technology officer, Sig Luft, who previously founded Siara Systems, which became part of Redback Networks, the company that created subscriber management.
Zeugma – pronounced ZOOGma – today formally launches its Zeugma Services Node, a new breed of access equipment known as the service delivery router, which integrates routing, subscriber management and service management by combining high-throughput routing with enormous computing capacity at the edge of the network.
The idea is to let broadband service providers track individual flows on a per-service, per-subscriber basis, providing specific Quality of Service for video and voice, digital storefront transactions and more. Zeugma plans “to let broadband service providers re-insert themselves into the value chain” and derive revenue from digital storefronts, content owners, content delivery networks and advertisers, said Kevin Walsh, vice president of marketing for Zeugma Systems. The ability to more rapidly prototype and launch new services is key if broadband service providers are to generate the revenues required to drive network upgrades and produce profits, Walsh added.
Although being formally announced only today, the Zeugma Services Node is already in trials with four tier-one service providers, one of which is British Telecom. The other three – not yet identified – include two in North America and one more in Europe, said Andrew Harries, the founding President and CEO of Zeugma Systems.
“The Zeugma Services Node is a broadband edge aggregation device, and it performs the subscriber management function, but it also manages the services subscribers receive to ensure they have the proper priority,” Harries said. “Our founding CTO, Sig Luft, headed Redback R&D during the first release of the SmartEdge 800. His view is that subscriber management is a relatively known technical issue. The new issue is how do you manage, deliver and monetize services, and the network edge is the ideal location to do that.”
Service providers have recognized the need to identify, manage and prioritize different service flows so that services such as VoIP and video are delivered without quality-crushing latency, and other best-effort traffic is handled as well, Harries said. There have been a proliferation of solutions, many built on Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology that is added to the network. That approach has a couple of problems, Harries said.
“If you are doing this further upstream [from the subscriber] using DPI, then you have a one-policy-fits-all approach,” Harries said. Adding DPI separately at the edge creates yet another network element to be managed.
The Zeugma Services Node can assume the role of a BRAS – Broadband Remote Access Server – and deliver quality of service that is both subscriber- and service-specific. Doing so would add potential revenue streams for the service provider from content/application owners, content delivery networks, digital storefronts and advertisers, Harries said.
Today’s broadband service providers face a highly challenging economic future, Walsh said. “They need to be able to enhance the consumer’s experience with new services, and these have to be things consumers want, delivered at a level of quality that they are willing to pay for. The more services you want to launch, the more dynamic the network has to be in letting you see, monitor and manage those services going through the network.”
By combining carrier-grade routing up to 720 Gigabits per second with high-performance computing. – up to 520,000 Dhrystone million instructions per second (DMIPS) – at the edge of the network, Zeugma enables service providers to sell QoS to content delivery networks such as Akamai, insert customer-specific advertising into content for advertisers, charge consumers for certain content and also get a percentage of sales from digital storefronts, as those increase over a higher performing network.
Zeugma also is launching its Zeugma Open Application Sandbox, which includes a native application execution environment and open APIs for third-party developers and service providers’ own development, Walsh said.
The Zeugma Services Node comes with a number of existing applications including application-driven QoS, application-driven bandwidth, active VoIP and video QoE monitoring and URL filtering.
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