The benefits of hardware acceleration for Lawful Intercept applications

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					The benefits of hardware acceleration for Lawful Intercept applications

Lawful data intercept represents a significant challenge for network operators. In many countries,
there is a legal requirement for network operators to deliver both signalling and content information
from call sessions to lawful authorities in possession of a valid warrant.

This means that network operators have to be able to “tap” into active call sessions and extract the
relevant information – signalling data, which provides information about the parties involved in the
session; and content, which is the media they exchange. In simple terms, who is calling whom and
what they are saying.

But it’s no longer quite so simple. People exchange all sorts of information, not just conversational
media, but files, content and so on. What’s more, to keep up with the spiralling growth of media
exchange, networks have migrated to high-speed packet transport. This means that accessing
signalling and content is a growing challenge.

Instead of a simple stream of data to 'tap', modern networks present law enforcement agencies with
a jumbled assortment of many different types of packet, most of which are irrelevant and of no
value. The purpose of modern lawful intercept applications is to identify only the relevant packets
and extract the important information. It's an increasingly complex and challenging environment
and the technology is key to modern law enforcement techniques.

The network operator may be required to deliver signalling and content data from many thousands
of concurrent sessions – all in real-time. They must be able to activate lawful intercept procedures
instantly, capturing the required data and presenting it to collection devices accurately and in a
timely fashion.

Until recently, there had been a move to leverage COTS – commercial, off the shelf – technology
for this task, but the burden of capturing many thousands of concurrent sessions from high-speed
data networks has become too great. Imagine trying to capture data from 16,000 simultaneous
sessions from a transport pipe running at 10Gb/s. The required data may be only a small fraction of
the overall network traffic and the filtering requirement can punish even the most capable of
standard processors.

It’s now being recognised that specialised hardware is required to accomplish this task, liberating
host CPUs from the data processing and enabling them to be repurposed for the delivery of the
captured and filtered data. Such hardware can accomplish key tasks, such as DPI, packet labelling
and filtering and presentation to the host application. By pushing these tasks onto specialist
hardware, the ability of network operators to deliver information required to lawful authorities is
greatly enhanced.

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Packet Filtering at affordable prices.

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