Showing posts with label FMC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FMC. Show all posts

Monday 30 November 2020

Three New Standards to Accelerate 5G Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC)

It's been just over a year since I wrote a detailed post on what I called '5G and Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC)'. The technical term being used in the industry for this feature is Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC). 

Broadband Forum, the communications industry’s leading open standards development organization focused on accelerating broadband innovation, standards, and ecosystem development has just announced the publication of three new standards to accelerate global 5G adoption. The press release said:

Building on the Forum’s mission to drive a future consolidated approach to 5G, the standards will reduce development time, as well as capex and opex, from the traditional disparate fixed broadband and 5G networks. Ultimately, they will deliver a common and managed broadband experience to the end-user whatever the final connectivity technology.

There are three major sets of technical specifications that have been finalized, including 5G Wireless Wireline Convergence Architecture (TR-470), Access Gateway Function (AGF) Functional Requirements (TR-456) and Device Data Model (TR-181). Together, these documents provide functions and interfaces for Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC), the AGF, and customer premises equipment (CPE) such as 5G-enabled routers.

TR-470 – produced in conjunction with 3GPP – describes the 5G FMC architecture, providing a high-level guide for network architects and planners and enabling fixed and mobile functions to coexist over a shared infrastructure. This will facilitate multi-access connectivity and give consumers a seamless, access-independent service experience.

For operators, the network functions required to operate their infrastructure will be streamlined and common technology, on-boarding, training, services and subscriber management between fixed and mobile divisions can be achieved. Furthermore, additional revenue streams will be created, with FMC extending the geographical reach of 5G core networks and the service offering of fixed networks.

TR-456 describes the functional requirements of the AGF. The AGF resides between fixed access networks and the 5G core network to support 5G and wireline Residential Gateways, creating a truly converged deployment. Alongside this, Broadband Forum’s Device: 2 data model (TR-181 Issue 2 Amendment 14), which is used by User Services Platform (USP), has been extended to address 5G Residential Gateways. The Device: 2 data model applies to all types of TR-069 or USP-enabled devices, including end devices, Residential Gateways, and other network infrastructure devices

In addition, the Functional Requirements for Broadband Residential Gateway Devices (TR-124) specification is expected to be finalized in Q4 2020. Moving from the network into the home, TR-124 has been extended to add requirements related to the 5G Residential Gateway extending the 5G control plane to the premises to open up new service opportunities with real time fulfillment.

In the video below, David Allan, Work Area Director for Wireless-Wireline Convergence at Broadband Forum and Christele Bouchat, Innovation Group Director at Broadband Forum discuss what is coming up in the next phase of 5G work and what opportunities this has opened up for the industry

WWC has a great potential to allow wireline and trusted/untrusted Wi-Fi to work with 5G so I am hopeful that operators will adopt this sooner, rather than later.

Follow the links below to learn more about this feature.

Related Posts:

Monday 2 December 2019

Guest Post: Exploring Network Convergence of Mobile, Broadband and Wi-Fi

This is a guest post by Ben Toner, Founder and Director, Numerous Networks

Are multiple networks better than one?

How many articles have you read with a title similar to "Which technology is better, 5G or Wi-Fi6?" If, like me, you regularly use Wi-Fi and cellular (I still use 4G though) then you might find it hard to take sides.

Enter Network Convergence - the concept of bringing multiple networks together to get the best of them all. Imagine, as an end user, not having to decide which network to use but instead feeling satisfied that your data was traversing the best combination of networks at that moment in time.

Imagine a business traveler being connected to Wi-Fi which is slow or busy while trying to take that all important conference call while sitting in an airport. Because you are roaming you want to use that Wi-Fi but you do not want to compromise the video call quality. If your network and device could work together to use just enough cellular data to supplement the slow Wi-Fi so that you stayed within your daily roaming quota but never lost a moment in the video call - then you would probably be very happy with that service. Better still, as you start walking off, if the call transitioned from Wi-Fi to cellular with no dropouts or hangup then you might be delighted!

Earlier I underlined best because that in itself is somewhat complicated.  The example above is easy to desribe but quite hard for to achieve within a framework where all possible scenarios are handled that well, for every user. The common questions which need to be factored into any such choice are:
  • What do I as the end user want? 
  • What performance can each network deliver. 
  • How important is the transfer of content at that time and 
  • How much am I willing to pay for it (how many MB of my data plan am I willing to use?). 

This is one of the challenges that we cannot easily solve today, but technology is being developed to help in that process. The operators and device vendors are working within standardisation to develop technology which can provide such a converged service. However at this time there is still a rules mechanism behind it all which does not really describe how user input and preference is going to be captured.

In the last 10 years I have witnessed many battles within service providers when deciding what "one size fits all" service to offer everyone when deciding how to make service provider Wi-Fi available to their customers; all fuelled by my points above.

A lot of concepts are well designed and somewhat mature but deciding exactly what will be implemented in standards is currently ongoing.

In the following slides and video I introduce this whole concept of Network Convergence. The following content introduces the concept and then takes a detailed look at the ATSSS; technology being defined in 3GPP. I also have highlighted the technologoies you can get hold of today to try out network convergence.

I encourage you all to download the example technologies and try convergence for yourself. I'm eager to hear opinions of what technologies work best for each of you. And better still, what is not being provided which you think should be...

Looking forward to your feedback and answering your questions...

Ben Toner
Founder and Director, Numerous Networks

Related Posts:

Thursday 7 November 2019

Introduction to 5G ATSSS - Access Traffic Steering, Switching and Splitting

Last month we made a short tutorial on 5G and Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC). One of the features covered in that was ATSSS. It deserved a bit more detail so we made a short tutorial on this feature.

Access Traffic Steering, Switching and Splitting or ATSSS for short is being standardized as part of 3GPP Rel-16 and allows traffic steering across multiple accesses at a finer granularities than a PDU session.  It is an optional feature both on the UE and the 5GC network. ATSSS introduces the notion of Multi Access PDU session, a PDU session for which the data traffic can be served over one or more concurrent accesses (3GPP access, trusted non-3GPP access and untrusted non-3GPP access). The simplest way to visualize it is as shown below:

The presentation and video is embedded below:

Related Posts:

Sunday 15 September 2019

Thursday 19 August 2010

KDDI Vision on FMBC (Fixed Mobile Broadband Convergence)

The following is from KDDI Annual report which is available to download here.

FMC (Fixed and Mobile Convergence) enables a variety of services and contents anywhere, any time, regardless of different communication methods and access means, be it fixed or mobile. KDDI’s next-generation infrastructure concept, “Ultra 3G,” takes this convergence one step further, to FMBC (Fixed Mobile and Broadcast Convergence). This is an area where only KDDI, which has various access lines, can pursue potentials.

The following is an article and half from the same report on FMBC:

Tuesday 9 March 2010

3GPP and Broadband Forum Collaboration on Fixed Mobile Convergence Standards

Fixed/Mobile Convergence (FMC) was the key topic that brought 3GPP and the Broadband Forum together for their first joint workshop, held February 18-19 in San Francisco. The two-day workshop was attended by 120 industry experts, who reviewed over 40 contributions focused primarily on use cases and joint requirements.

The attendees, primarily 3GPP and Broadband Forum members, also included representatives from ETSI TISPAN, ATIS and other standards bodies. The diverse group came together with a shared goal; to start the process of aligning new FMC work in each organization to best address both fixed and wireless management requirements. The two days spent together allowed the group to identify the key issues at hand and the work that needs to be done. With words of appreciation and encouragement from workshop co-chairs, Stephen Hayes of 3GPP and Dave Allan of the Broadband Forum, each organization took away work items that address both near term and long term next steps for both 3GPP and the Broadband Forum.

Through liaison communications and technical contributions into each organization, joint requirements will be shared, and another workshop is envisioned for the future after a scope and gap analysis is performed by the organizations.

Workshop documents and presentations are at available…on line

Presentations & Papers from the Workshop:

Sunday 8 June 2008

Discovery Protocols for FMC devices

Today’s mobile computers include additional features such as Java, Bluetooth, Smart Covers, WAP 2.0, and JavaScript enabled Web pages and with embedded SOAP, 3GPP with SIP, and other technologies that make it possible to provide sophisticated, distributed applications. These new applications need Discovery tools to learn about the nearby networks or network-accessible resources available to them.

In future when FMC is common and PnP devices will be commonly available, when a user brings a new device home, the device will be able to automatically integrate itself into the home network. Discovery protocols are the mechanisms that make this possible.

Discovery protocols are network protocols used to discover services, devices, or other networked resources. The ability to discover networked resources at runtime makes it possible to dynamically configure distributed systems.

Over the past 20 years, dozens of discovery protocols have been developed. Despite many years of practical experience with discovery protocols, it remains an active area of research for many organizations investigating topics related to scalability or security or context awareness.
Usually, a discovery protocol allows a service to be discovered on the basis of its type, its Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and other properties—not just its name. For example, DNS (Distributed Name Service) is a name service. It resolves domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. For example, SLP (Service Location Protocol) clients can ask for services that match certain constraints, and servers respond with the names of services that match those constraints.

In general, there are four basic mechanisms that discovery protocols use for “discovery.”
1. Advertisement
2. Inquiry
3. Directories
4. Description

The wide range of protocols, representation languages, and query languages has resulted in very little, if any, interoperability between the various discovery protocols. As a consequence, most commercially available systems implement multiple discovery protocols.

Supporting multiple protocols has major drawbacks. Many mobile devices are memory constrained or have inadequate user interface capabilities. This limitation makes it very undesirable to use multiple protocols when, at least theoretically, a single protocol would be sufficient. Users of laptops or desktops are not usually concerned with the cost or power consumption of the network they are connected to. Mobile phone users may be concerned inefficient protocols designed for Local Area Networks (LANs)—both the financial cost of using the cellular network and the drain on their batteries of using any network.

It is common for discovery protocols to come as an integrated part of a distributed middleware toolkit. In addition to discovery, distributed middleware toolkits provide for remote invocation and events. For example, SSDP (Simple Service Discovery Protocol) is part of UPnP (Universal Plug and Play); a suite of distributedcomputing technologies that includes SSDP, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), and GENA (Generalized Event Notification Architecture). Likewise, Jini is a distributed middleware toolkit that provides its own services discovery protocol.

Distributed middleware toolkits make it possible to create smart controllers that (1) use discovery protocols to integrate themselves with the home devices, (2) are aware of the device state and display information from the device to the user, (3) receive responses from control messages, (4) can authenticate themselves as authorized for the device, and (5) coordinate the actions of many devices.

For more information see:

Friday 4 April 2008

FMC + M-to-M at home and outside

I was lent a copy of Fixed Mobile Convergence book that was recently released by McGraw Hill. Very interesting book if you are involved in some way or other in FMC world. If you think you missed out on many conferences on FMC (and saved thousands of pounds) then investing in this book will provide you with far more information and may make you an expert.

Here is a snippet of something I always like reading and think will be big in future:

Improved availability, reachability, and cost savings enabled by FMC can be applied not only to communication between humans or humans and machines, but also to communication between machines themselves, for instance, intelligent devices with microprocessors running applications—machine-to-machine (M-to-M)—with far-reaching consequences.

To date, the solutions offered by telecom service providers have almost always involved a human user at one endpoint of a communication session. With the mass deployment of wireless networks and microprocessor-based remote sensing devices, this paradigm is about to change, with literally millions of devices capable of connectivity
being readied by manufacturers in different industries.

The solution in Figure above allows persons and remote applications to monitor the status of stationary and semistationary objects in the home zone and control their behavior based on policies, changing conditions, and other factors. The home-zone objects may interface with the home-zone M-to-M controller via low-power, close-proximity technologies such as ZigBee, defined in IEEE 802.15.4 specifying Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN), and Z-wave (a proprietary standard developed by a company called Zensys), or more mainstream Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies (depending on specific implementations).

The applications relying on such a symbiosis of M-to-M and FMC may include inexpensive and easy-to-install,8 standards-based, remote monitoring and control equipment. In residential applications, for example, communicating thermostats, security systems, and lighting, as well as numerous mobile assets belonging to a household such as vehicles, pets, and family members, can be enabled to maintain uniform connectivity and create an M-to-M ecosystem, as depicted in Figure above.

If this interests you then information on the book as follows:

Wednesday 12 December 2007

FMC: The long wait

FMC might take some time to roll out because nobody wants to fix something thats not broken.

According to this old (and relevant) article:

Despite the hype, heavy adoption isn’t expected until the next decade, analysts say. Dragging it down is carrier reluctance to market FMC services and tepid demand among cash-strapped U. S. companies still trialing products from established vendors and newcomers.

“Why would [carriers] want to do anything to disrupt the nature of the return that they’re getting in tariffed services?” asks Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight Research, referring to wireline and wireless carriers such as Verizon and AT&T, which continue to see growing wireless revenue and fat profit margins of 40% to 45% every quarter. “Naturally, they are much happier to take your minutes of use and apply them to cell phones. Same would [be true for] a tariffed voice service. There’s really no incentive for them to rock that boat.”

Both wireline service providers and cellular providers lose revenue when calls are moved off of their respective networks and onto the enterprise’s wireless LAN (WLAN). They lose additional revenue if the off-site traffic is routed to another enterprise network, Insight notes.

A recent article on this topic says:

It sounds like a simple concept, but FMC requires lots of technical stitching on the part of the carrier or vendor to smooth out the seams between the wired and unwired worlds. FMC melds several disparate infrastructures - such as TDM and packet VoIP, IP data, Wi-Fi and various flavors of cellular - into one. There are multiple instantiations of FMC from which an enterprise can choose, which makes the right FMC decision more difficult.

But once the networks are stitched and the decisions about whether to opt for a carrier managed service or enterprise-centric FMC implementation are made, the benefits are manifold, industry experts say. They include the ability to be reached through one phone number wherever you are - at your desk, around campus, roaming about or at home - as well as reduced enterprise telecom costs by, for example, bypassing international mobile roaming charges when making cross-border calls.

Enterprises also can save on telecom costs. In addition to bypassing international roaming charges, businesses can tame their out-of-control cellular bills by selecting one or two service providers or vendors to include cellular as a component of an overall FMC or unified communications package, Mathias says.

As i said in the start, nobody is going to make a move on FMC till someone starts shouting and others start listening to him.

Now, according to a report by The Yankee Group, one of the positives that FMC brings to the table—its cost-savings by moving mobile minutes off wireless and onto wireline devices— does not outweigh the trepidation of enterprise IT professionals and decision makers.

“We see it as something that will hit eventually but in the short term probably not,” said Brian Kotlyar, research associate with The Yankee Group and author of the report, “Productivity is the Prettier Face of FMC.”

Twenty-nine percent of the 302 IT decision makers surveyed for the report considered FMC a nice technology to have but not a critical application on their networking road map. Even more daunting, there is an adoption rate of less than 2 percent for the concept, the report said, so things aren’t taking off in that space even while it might be viewed as a positive.

Finally some stats to put everything in perspective:

Though FMC registers barely a blip on the radar screen, there will be 92 million FMC subscribers worldwide by 2011 and FMC revenue will amount to $28 billion by that time, representing 3% of overall mobile subscriptions globally, according to market research firm Informa Telecoms and Media. The firm says the United States will lead the way with 33.2 million subscribers.

As a consequence, sales of dual-mode handsets will increase to 5% of global handset sales by 2011, Informa expects. Eighty-five percent of these sales will be to consumers adopting FMC services for convenience and cost benefits, although a "significant proportion of revenues" will be from enterprises adopting FMC as part of a unified communications strategy for more effective business interactions, the firm says.

So is anyone doing something on FMC?

If you want to read further:

Friday 9 November 2007

Moving towards IP Convergence

IP Convergence implies the carriage of different types of traffic such as voice, video, data, and images over a single network. The integrated network is based on the Internet Protocol (IP).
The reason I am talking about this is because of the way things are moving; everything converging to IP based core. Most network operators and enterprises need to understand how to rapidly transform or evolve their wireless, wireline or enterprise networks into all-IP backbones quickly and effectively to stay competitive and differentiate themselves. This “IP transformation” brings with it an array of communications, applications, service delivery and network challenges.
As service providers and enterprises take steps to plan and manage their IP transformation efforts, they are confronted by fundamental changes IP has impacted on the technology landscape. Convergence is happening at a rapid rate — IT systems, networks, services and applications are blending together. The ability to integrate different platforms, applications, content, and services from a variety of vendors has become essential not only to improve costs, but also to enhance network reliability, security, and efficiency.

Service providers and enterprises need to differentiate to compete better, add new subscribers, and offer new advanced communications services and applications. For service providers, it means providing customers the services they want, when they want them, from anywhere they are, while consistently delivering a higher quality of experience. For enterprises, it may imply lowering network costs by providing new value and extending the lifecycle of existing network assets.
Services transformation: As shifting demands, greater expectations, and the emphasis on the user experience continue to reshape today’s market, the ability to adjust to new conditions and rapidly take advantage of emerging opportunities is more important than ever.

For carriers, this means being able to review current service offerings and expand or tailor them accordingly. Here are a few examples:
· Migrating from a new standalone service like IPTV and adding mobile TV and VoIP to create a triple-play offer;
· Migrating from fixed VoIP and adding mobility via Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC); and
· Utilizing IMS to move toward a Service Delivery Environment (SDE), thus enabling access to which with the right underpinnings can be seamlessly blended together in a controlled and sophisticated manner to create a new, compelling experience that assures users service delivery.
For enterprises, service transformation could mean enabling new IP-PBX services with advanced mobile technologies. The business case for service transformation must be clear from the beginning. Organizations should not disregard the continued usefulness and reliability of any legacy deployment in place. If in fact the legacy service is out of date or its functionality no longer suits the needs of the organization, then the cost of maintaining it could be a motivating factor for service transformation.
Network transformation: Traditional service providers need to transform their legacy network environment to IP to support innovation and lower their operating expenses. This can be a daunting task. Take for example the implication of moving to distributed architectures, such as IMS, which allow an unprecedented level of vendor diversity. This new level of flexibility opens the door to an unprecedented level of flexibility in solution architectures and introduces the need for extensive interoperability testing that many carriers are finding cannot be left to vendors to sort out on their own.
For traditional operators, a move to IP also entails the planning and management of the migration of millions of customer lines. Likewise, enterprises continue to use IP to converge and transform their networks, adding capabilities that greatly enhance their ability to reduce costs and increase functionality. However, the way employees communicate is growing more complex. They use a range of voice communications like desk phones in the office, mobile phones in their pockets, and IP phone services like GoogleTalk or Skype on their laptops. They use voicemail, e-mail and text messaging, as well as presence- enabled IM. They access Web content and private intranet information. And they do all of this from multiple end-points through different access technologies — from within an enterprise, at home, or remotely.
Business transformation: With market forces and industry trends undergoing disruptive change, leading carrier organizations need an ever greater “transformation tool box” to help navigate the environment to create a new vision for the business, develop the step-by-step roadmap to realize that vision, build the business case to justify investments and identify the operations models that support the business going forward.
Meanwhile, enterprises are rapidly evolving their business models to increase their overall agility to respond better to market conditions. Given mergers, acquisitions, industry consolidation, and shareholder expectations, enterprises will be under continuous pressure to devise new ways to outperform their competitors.
The benefits of IP Convergence:

1. Excellent support for multimedia applications. Improved connectivity means that devices can be assigned specific tasks; the number of devices required is less which makes installation, deployment, and learning an easier task.

2. A converged IP network is a single platform on which interoperable devices can be run in innovative ways. Since IP is an open standard, it is vendor independent and this helps in fostering interoperability and improving network efficiency in terms of time and cost. The ambit of IP convergence encompasses networks, devices, and different technologies and systems that can be operated on a unified infrastructure.

3. A converged IP network is easier to manage because of the uniform setup in which the system resources operate. Training users is easy.

4. An enterprise can achieve flexibility in terms of moulding its communication patterns to its management practices. This is a dynamic process that can be continually improved with collaboration from network partners. What this results in is the right information to the right person at the right time leading to improved decision making.

5. IP networks have proven to be remarkably scalable and this has been one of the prime reasons that even large enterprises have gone ahead with implementing IP. Applications that run on IP networks are available all over the world; in fact most new business applications include inbuilt IP support.

6. An IP convergent network is capable of making use of the developments in class of service differentiation and QoS-based routing. This leads to better utilization of resources and also allows for capacity redundancy to take care of an increase in the number of users.

7. A uniform environment requires fewer components in the network. Smoother maintenance and management result from this and in turn lead to improved processes. Affordable deployment results from the elimination of multiple networks operating in parallel and manageability improves. In a converged environment, fewer platforms need to be tested and gateways between networks are eliminated.

8. Business applications have different tolerance levels for transit delays, dropped packets, and error rates. IP architecture is capable of handling these so that the QoS reflects the requirements of the different applications.

9. Device integration has the potential to simplify end-to-end security management and at the same time make it more robust. Continuous development is taking place in field of security for IP data communication.
10. A converged IP network offers a business tremendous cost savings in terms of hardware and space utilization. It opens up more markets that can be reached, more products that can be introduced, increases employee productivity and mobility, and enables even smaller companies to compete with larger ones because of faster information relay.

Thursday 20 September 2007

FMC just a Hype?

According to Yankee group report, FMC is just a hype and its now fading.
Yankee Group revealed that fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) has strong potential to shake up the communications market for enterprise voice and mobility, but focus must shift from cost-savings to productivity in order for adoption to take-off. Today, FMC is sold with a focus on reducing cost for the enterprise, but with the subtext of productivity benefits for the end user. A consequence of this feature-focused approach is that FMC will not be the growth driver many carriers expect. Instead, it will be a necessary feature in carrier portfolios.
According to the recently published Yankee Group Note, Productivity Is the Prettier Face of FMC, enterprise adoption of FMC remains low. According to the Yankee Group Anywhere Enterprise—Large: 2007 European Fixed-Mobile Convergence Survey, only 2% of enterprises have deployed FMC. This number is even lower in the US and Canada. Competition from alternative mobility initiatives, technological immaturity and reduced priority placed on voice communications by IT decision-makers have contributed to this perception and low adoption rate. In addition, 29% of IT decision-makers surveyed in the Yankee Group Anywhere Enterprise—Large: 2007 US Fixed-Mobile Convergence Survey consider the technology nice to have, but not a critical application on their IT/networking road map. When combined with an adoption rate of less than 2%, this statistic does not bode well for FMC as it is currently configured and marketed.

"The FMC hype was a bit premature, but the day is not far off when FMC will play a major role in the way many people work," said Brian Kotlyar, research associate in Yankee Group's Enterprise Research group. "Integrating voice into mobile applications will be the new frontier for FMC. This will enable true differentiation between the FMC offerings of today that revolve exclusively around voice and the FMC applications of tomorrow that will enrich mobile data and increase Anywhere Enterprise™ productivity."
According to Telecommunications online (worth reading), During its short lifespan fixed-mobile convergence has gone from the greatest idea since bread was sliced to overhyped nonsense that will never happen. Along the way, it has still managed to maintain a small degree of respectability and potential.

Thursday 16 August 2007

FMC: Fixed Mobile Convergence

FMC will enable single device to perform myriad functions. The main points of interest are:

Dynamic increase of IP based services especially driven by fixed access
VoIP replaces circuit switched service in fixed networks
VoIP will replace circuit switched voice in mobile networks
The border between fixed and mobile networks dissapears

Source: LTE from a handset perspective, LG Electronics, 'LTE 2007', May 2007

Monday 18 June 2007

IMS strategies: Synopsis from IMS 2.0 world forum

From Ajit's Open Gardens Blog:

IMS 2.0 world forum is a must attend event .. I learnt a lot from it. Here is a brief synopsis of where I see IMS is heading to ..

Seek your thoughts and feedback especially you can identify other Operators with an interesting strategy and / or if you attended this event

As I could gather, there are six broad strategies:
a) Voice call continuity(VCC) / fixed to mobile convergence
b) Blended voice : voice tied contextually to messaging or rich media
c) SIP without IMS (Naked SIP)
d) Strategies from device manufacturers(especially Nokia and Motorola)
e) Real time IMS applications (multiplayer games and other such applications that need near real time blended media interaction within a session)
f) Abstraction of the core network

Most of the focus is around (a) Voice call continuity(VCC) / fixed to mobile convergence

This is a pity – but also understandable Operators are most familiar with voice
In its broadest sense, voice call continuity pertains to roaming within cellular and non cellular networks(such as roaming between cellular and wifi networks). A specific instance of this is
Fixed to mobile convergence for instance BT fusion

My personal view is:

a) I don’t quite know if I would be interested in FMC as a customer ..
b) I think its being sold on cost – which is not a good idea
c) I think it fulfils an industry goal(fixed and mobile networks trying to get new subscribers from each other’s networks in mature markets)
d) In general, voice is becoming cheap .. so I am not sure that a pure voice play is a good idea

Blended voice(b) and real time applications(e) are interesting but need device support. Devices supporting IMS fully are conspicuous by their absence!

In contrast, devices supporting SIP(c) - but not IMS are very much here and so are applications – for instance

Abstracting the network layer through software APIs(f) – is the most interesting – but I felt very few Operators had the vision to embrace this strategy at the moment. The two big exceptions being TIM and Telia sonera - who are doing some very interesting work.

To recap, by abstracting the network layer, I mean : In an IP world, as the Mobile Internet mirrors the Internet, the Operator should focus on the core of the network and leave the edge of the network to third parties. Specifically, this means – identify the elements that can be performed ONLY in the core and then abstract them through APIs. This approach gets us away from the dichotomy of the ‘pipe’ vs. ‘no pipe’. It also means that the Operator retains control.

Finally, Operators in emerging markets like Globe telecom from Philippines were also impressive i.e. they understood the space, the issues specific to their market and how they could leverage IMS in their markets. Harvey G Libarnes, Head of innovation and incubations program , Globe Telecom, gave a very thorogh presentation

Finally, there are some interesting plays : such as Mobilkom with A1 over IP and France Telecom with IPTV strategy

To conclude:
a) At Operator level, IMS is still largely about voice and a defensive approach(such as FMC)
b) Lack of devices is the key question mark
c) Device manufacturers on the other hand have significant leverage(more on that soon)
d) Some operators are going to be very innovative – TIM and Teliasonera from amongst the attendees

Tuesday 15 May 2007

FMC: IMS and UMA (15/05/07)

One of the topics that came up during a discussion with a client is how would IMS replace UMA. My opinion is that UMA is something for present while IMS would be something for future. Doing some digging up afterwards turned up some interesting results.

An article in TMCNet confirmed my opinion. The following is a snippet of discussion with Steve Shaw, marketing director of Kineto wireless, it can be seen that UMA:

Shaw explained that carriers first started building IMS in order to standardize the process for wirelessly delivering the types of data services that IP enables—including push-to-talk, videoconferencing, and mapping.

As development of IMS got underway, Shaw told TMCnet, carriers realized that it could have applications for traditional voice services as well, and the specifications grew to become a potential enabler of FMS.

Today, IMS is generally viewed as the way in which all networks—both fixed and mobile—will evolve to become completely IP-based.

The problem is that, although IMS has lots of promise for many applications (including FMS), it is not yet fully developed and the number of specifications involved is still growing.

“IMS isn’t a specification, it’s a journey,” Shaw said

He added that IMS eventually will solidify and deliver on its promise, but that probably will take another decade or more.

Although beginning the transition to IMS-based systems now may theoretically be a good long-term investment, for many carriers the cost simply cannot yet be justified. That leaves them looking for a non-IMS way to cost-effectively deliver FMS now.

UMA, For Now

As a fully-developed specification capable of delivering low-cost FMS service today, UMA is the no-brainer choice for most operators, Shaw told TMCnet.

“UMA is unbelievably inexpensive and low-impact. There is really nothing else that has the same approach,” he said.

UMA isn’t perfect, of course, and cannot provide all the functionality that IMS promises to someday deliver.

Shaw noted that some companies who build IMS-based applications have positioned UMA as being a temporary solution, and one that operators will regret investing in because new specifications will come along and render UMA obsolete.

That could end up being true, but operators still need a way to cost-effectively deliver FMS now, and for the time being UMA is the only specification available to do that.

Shaw added that 3GPP has started work on a second-generation version of UMA—dubbed eUMA—that will add more functionality including the ability to natively connect into high-speed data portions of 3G networks.

There are couple of white papers from Kineto wireless which are an interesting reading. The first is "How UMA Enables Broadband IMS" and the other is "The Complementary Roles of UMA and IMS in Fixed-Mobile

I found another old article from last year talking about the same thing.