Citrix, F5 tackle wireless data traffic with mobile ADC

Citrix and F5 Networks have each launched a mobile ADC that helps carriers manage growing wireless data traffic.

F5 Networks Inc. and Citrix have bolstered the capabilities of their respective application delivery controllers...

to help wireless service providers contend with rising mobile data traffic.

Each of the vendors introduced a carrier-focused mobile ADC this week at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain. F5 announced it had doubled the maximum capacity of its Viprion ADC chassis, while Citrix said it had integrated the NetScaler T1000 series ADC software into the vendor's ByteMobile traffic management hardware platform.

Service providers are trying to keep pace with mobile data traffic, which grew 74% year over year in 2015 to 3.7 exabytes per month, according to Cisco's latest network traffic forecast. Mobile traffic is expected to reach 30.6 exabytes per month by 2020.

Most of the increase in traffic is due to the proliferation of mobile devices. By the end of 2016, almost two-thirds of the 3.2 billion people with access to the Internet globally will be doing so on mobile devices, according to IDC. The number of mobile Internet users is expected to grow 2% annually through 2020.

F5's B4450 mobile ADC

To help cloud and communication service providers tackle the growth, F5 introduced a 100 GbE module, called the B4450. The hardware doubles the maximum capacity of the eight-slot Viprion 4800 chassis to 20 million connections per second when combined with F5's Big-IP Local Traffic Manager. A 4800 frame outfitted with the B4450 would support up to 16 100 GbE and 48 40 GbE ports.

The B4450 is designed to handle data traffic on service providers' 4G networks, which represented only 14% of mobile connections in 2015, but accounted for 47% of mobile data traffic, according to Cisco. The blade provides 1 Tb per second of Layer 4-7 throughput, which is four times the Layer 7 performance of other F5 hardware. As a result, the hardware in combination with F5's firewall technology can defend against larger distributed denial-of-service attacks, according to the vendor.

The latest blade is scheduled to ship in the second quarter. The starting list price is $150,000.

In general, F5 products, which include physical, virtual and cloud deployment options, provide a broad range of Layer 4-7 network services for software-defined networking and network functions virtualization. In 2015, F5 was the highest-priced vendor in the ADC market, according to Gartner.

Also at MWC, F5 demonstrated a virtual version of its Big-IP ADC that is compatible with Intel's 40 GbE controller, and another edition compatible with the chipmaker's 100 GbE controller. The former is scheduled to ship in the third quarter, while a release date for the latter is pending.

Citrix integrates NetScaler, ByteMobile into mobile ADC

Meanwhile, Citrix introduced integration between its NetScaler T1000 series ADC software and ByteMobile to help wireless carriers manage the increase in mobile video traffic.

Video accounted for 55% of total mobile data traffic in 2015, according to Cisco. By 2020, video traffic is expected to make up 75% of traffic.

Citrix's mobile ADC lets carriers consolidate multiple functions on a single platform. The features include carrier-grade network address translation, data-plane load balancing and subscriber-aware traffic steering.

The NetScaler T1000 supports network sizes ranging from 20 Gbps to 100 Gbps and 100 Gbps to 160 Gbps. Clustered appliances can scale to 3.3 Tbps.

In other NetScaler news, Cisco said last week it would stop selling, as of May 20, the Citrix NetScaler 1000V product bundled with the Cisco Nexus 1110 switch. Instead, Cisco will direct customers to Citrix for its NetScaler VPX, which has more features.

"Customers are requesting that the Citrix NetScaler 1000V -- sold by Cisco -- to be at feature parity with Citrix NetScaler VPX -- sold by Citrix -- and hence, it simply made sense to direct customers to Citrix NetScaler VPX and implement the end-of-life process for the Citrix NetScaler 1000V," Cisco said.

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