Trust me, it is. There are a lot of good reasons why we promote “accuracy and control, redefined” in our logo. Ask any operator with DPI experience, and you’ll hear that accuracy is top of the list. And we can, in all honesty, say that DPI didn’t really deliver on this promise originally. The first generation of DPI identified port-hoping filesharing applications good enough to cap them to avoid disaster.
But times have changed. Today we have very sophisticated tools in our bag and our traffic identification engine looks at several criteria when determining what application each individual connection is. We also leverage characteristics, like interactive, streaming, download and bulky to categorize traffic in an application-agnostic fashion.
Online applications have evolved extensively over the years I’ve been working with DPI. Back in the days when IP and TCP were invented, all traffic was client-server-based. The applications were neither time nor quality sensitive, but everyone was happy with a global and resilient network.
Fast forward to today. P2P technology is used to leverage bandwidth and CPU capacity at the edge of the network for faster connectivity and to decrease the traffic being sent over the core network. P2P technology is used by the streaming music services we run all day at the office, as well as the online HD video on demand service we use at home at night. Both Salesforce.com and our office phones run over IP enabling us to work from home as if we were at the office. But we would also be totally paralized if the Internet connection (as well as the redundant link ) was down. This is how crucial and integrated the Internet is in our lives today, and this is why traffic volumes grow at a pace that outdoes Moore’s law and that saturates pipes.
Of course, these applications are totally different in nature and have different requirements for how to be treated to function properly. Of course, different users have different expectations in different situations at different times of day. Of course, it would be an issue if you treat HD video as filesharing or World of Warcraft as SIP. This will impact the performance of the network, but also your ability to manage expectations and create viable business cases for how to satisfy different user profiles. Step one in any process is analysis, and unless you trust the intelligence you use for your analysis you won’t dare to make decisions based on these facts.
So, this is one of these cases where good enough isn’t good enough. Trust me when I say that you will want to trust the information you have at hand when you make critical decisions.