Application-Awareness Makes Next-Generation Networks Smarter

Ezra Mizrahi, Director of Technical Marketing, MRV Communications

This post is by Ezra Mizrahi, Director of Technical Marketing, MRV Communications

As more and more applications migrate into the cloud, best-effort Quality-of-Service (QoS) is no longer a satisfactory solution and a new breed of intelligent networks is required. In addition, as service providers see their revenues shrink and an increasing amount of businesses slips to application providers or Over-The-Top (OTT) players, a new approach is needed that enables them to regain their position in the market. In the past, relatively dumb networks may have sufficed in coping with customer demands, but this is no longer the case today.

Application-Aware Networking (AAN) is not a new concept, but one that has regained momentum in the last few years due to several emerging technological and market trends along with changing business models. AAN designates a set of tools and solutions for boosting utilisation of network resources based on customer demand through applications such as CRM systems (e.g. and video conferencing systems (e.g., Skype, MS Lync, etc.).

From the commercial and market perspective, the ruling business model that separates the application providers (Netflix, Yahoo, Google, Amazon, etc.) from the service providers that own the network infrastructure, turned out to be a big problem for the service provider. Application providers have been increasing revenues by monetising on the major network infrastructure investment made by the service providers.

Application-awareness image LR

AAN enables service providers to regain control over their network resources, take back some of the power that application providers have gained and put it back into the hands of the actual owners of network infrastructures. Through a new business model—widely known as “Telco 2.0—service providers are utilising a more intelligent network to collect and maintain information about the applications using their network resources. As a result, these network resources can be optimised to suit the exact needs of the application. This enables service providers to optimise their own investments in network infrastructure by offering end-customers and application providers new tailored services.

The real motivation behind AAN is to provide each application its actual desired transport characteristics, or more formally, to enable service providers to set QoS parameters to the application flows, and to dynamically manage bandwidth consumption of every application.

A pragmatic approach for service providers implementing AAN should not include forklift upgrades. Instead, it should be based on a cost-effective solution that includes the three major pillars outlined below:

  1. A programmable, software-based multi-layer access device
  2. A Linux-based operating system
  3. Orchestration software that enables multi-layer visibility, application awareness and sophisticated analytics


These capabilities are the key ingredients for the new networking paradigm of intelligent and flexible networks. With an Application-Aware Networking strategy, service providers can take a smarter approach to their next-generation network.

Please visit us at Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam, October 22-24, 2013, at Hall 11 Stand F48 and talk to our team. For more information about MRV’s Application-awareness solution please contact or visit 


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