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Feature Story

 
Presented by:
 

Enabling New Service Provider Business Models with the IP Multimedia Subsystem

William J. Barnett Jr.
Lucent Technologies

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
from 11:15 – 12:00 p.m. on the panel: Triple Play
Triple Play: the Implications of Convergence

Michael Cooper
Lucent Technologies


Monday, October 24, 2005 3:00 – 3:45 p.m.
on the panel: Deploying Services Using IMS
Deploying Services Using IMS

It is no surprise that with revenue pressure, cross-segment substitution, and new competition bundling voice with other service offerings, traditional telephony business models are under attack. The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is a service architecture that enables new service provider business models for both current telephony and new revenue-generating service offerings. This article discusses three potential models for creating value via business partnering "ecosystems" enabled by IMS and then compares these models to a traditional service provider business model.

Introduction

The global telephony industry is undergoing massive disruption dealing with the business implications of convergence, especially with the greater cross-elasticity of wireless and wireline, data and voice, and circuit and packet-based technologies. Wireless operators are raiding wireline markets with substitution offers. New industry entrants are challenging the traditional business model with new offers, advanced features, and/or radical pricing structures. Some industry players wholesale their network capacity to other providers that focus on specific market segments. The applications service provider (ASP) business model is experiencing a re-birth with voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services and similar applications hosted via the Internet. Fundamentally, all types of service providers are pursuing the same end-user spending, driving down the unit price of all voice services.

The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is an industry standard, initially developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and 3rd Generation partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) organizations primarily as an IP-based network architecture for cellular/wireless operators (replacing the traditional functions in a circuit-based mobile switching center). The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has chosen to start with IMS to specify a next-generation network (NGN) standard architecture for delivering lower-cost advanced revenue-generating services for all types of service providers, including interexchange carriers (IXCs), local exchange carriers (LECs), cable operators, and ASPs. VoIP is just one of many services enabled by an IMS architecture.

IMS as a Services Architecture

Traditional telephony networks have the end-user services functionality inseparably embedded in a core network switch. With intelligent networking (IN) technology, enhanced telephony capabilities can be built external to these switches, but services are still closely tied to the core network via Signaling System 7 (SS7) signaling. IP-based networks enable the end-user functionality (i.e., software applications like Web and e-mail servers) to be flexibly located and available from wherever in the world the user is able to access the public Internet.

The IMS architecture and its particular use of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) as a powerful signaling protocol that extends the flexibility of the IP model in several ways. Independent of access network technology, the IMS architecture:

  • Establishes methods for subscriber identification, authentication, authorization, routing, session control, and accounting for usage of network resources, as well as methods for exchanging this information across multiple network operators;
  • Standardizes the interfaces that applications use toward the core network, allowing multiple IMS applications to share data (including provisioning and billing data) and “blending” these applications such that they may simultaneously provide services to a single subscriber; and
  • Provides methods to dynamically assemble end-to-end quality of service (QoS) data sessions based on an application’s needs and the available intermediary network resources, as well as the end devices’ capabilities, such that VoIP and multimedia, real- time, latency-sensitive types of services can be delivered over IP networks.

Service Provider Business Models

When selling services to an end-user, a service provider needs within
its business model the following eight significant elements.
click here to view PowerPoint presentation

  • Brand —A marketing image of the service provider perceived by the end user/buyer.
  • Channel —The place in which or medium through which the user buys the service.
  • Billing and customer care —The methods by which the user pays for the service and by which the user interacts with the provider post-purchase.
  • Content —Creative intellectual property/media with end-user appeal and value (not all services require separate content—e.g., traditional telephony).
  • Applications —Functional implementations of the features and services the user is paying for (these implementations provide packaging around content when such is part of the service).
  • Core networks —Highly interconnected networks of resources that route and process the end-users’ traffic among multiple devices, access networks, and applications.
  • Access networks —“Last mile” networks that connect devices to a core network.
  • End-user devices —Hardwa re and client software with which the user physically interacts when using the service.

Multiple instances of each element are possible via internal operations, purchases from suppliers, and/or via ecosystem partners. Some simple pre-IMS examples include:

  • A traditional service provider partnering with peer operators for network capacity when a subscriber’s call terminates beyond the bounds of its own network geography, and
  • Wireless providers partnering with each other when one provider’s subscribers roam into and obtain use of local services when visiting in the other provider’s network coverage.

The partnering model is also the norm in the cable TV industry, where the network operator is also often a content owner, distributing through other service providers as well as through its own cable network.

Business Models Enabled by IMS

The eight elements delineated aboveare used to describe three potential business models and possible strategies that are available to service providers with an IMS services architecture. These elements represent significant areas of potential investment and partnering. While partnering reduces the net revenue the service provider may receive, it requires less capital investment to launch new services or enter new markets. A key strategic issue will be how a service provider competes with others who may have some or all of the same partners.

Model A: Converged Service Provider

A service provider that combines access networks and valuable end-user services should have strong appeal (“one-stop shop”), especially with a trusted brand name and positive user experience with easy-to-use devices and applications. By aggregating multiple access networks with IMS though roaming (fixed and mobile, locally and when traveling), subscribers have global use of their services without paying separately for access. Converged service providers have many options for the components in their business model. Significant partnering provides a broad service portfolio. Internally developed components or components with exclusivity may be expensive, but they are needed for differentiation against other competitors with converged services. For high-volume commodity services or content, multiple partners and the ability to move traffic between the partners can help the service provider lower costs. Because this business model demands high investment and high volume, there are likely be only a few large players in this niche of the ecosystem.

 Model B: Wholesaler and Retailer

A wholesale business model sells bulk network capacity and related services to retail service providers, who will typically focus primarily on their own brand and channels. In the IMS architecture, almost all network components are designed to be shared across multiple services, and only the home subscriber server is provisioned with subscriber-specific information. Shared media servers, media gateways, and application servers can be found today in pre-IMS wholesale core network operators. A pre-IMS retail business example is the mobile virtual network operator who buys wholesale wireless minutes from mobile network operators (e.g., 7-Eleven* Wireless ). Retail service providers will find value in partnering with wholesalers that have global connectivity; such partnering will reduce their risk, lower their cost, and improve their time to market. There are likely to be many retail service providers, some with broad appeal and some with niche appeal, but each leveraging unique brands and channel strengths.

The wholesale business model is most typically seen today for core and access networks, but there are also more recent examples in the areas of customer care, billing, and device fulfillment (e.g., mobile virtual network enablers). Typically, a wholesaler must focus on economies of scale and performance aspects for differentiation. By supporting multiple retail service providers, the wholesaler lowers its own risk by leveraging the market diversity and strengths from the multiple brands and channels of the retailers. Because this is a cost- and quality-differentiated business model, the wholesaler’s margins will be tight and there are likely to be only a limited number of long-term successful network wholesalers in the ecosystem.

Model C: Applications Service Provider

An ASP business model primarily focuses on the applications, content, and perhaps a dedicated device, generally without owning any network in the traditional sense. ASPs may also be wholesalers, and/or retailers (e.g., if have their own brand, channel, billing, customer care). The retail ASPs may lease access and core networks from wholesalers, or they may use the public Internet. Vonage is an example of a retail ASP delivering a pre-IMS VoIP application where subscribers separately purchase their own broadband Internet access. Other ASPs are the “behind the curtain” wholesale partners to service providers who market multiple services to end users. The ASP’s differentiation could be a specific device or application, and/or the differentiation could be unique content. An ASP may add new features to an existing application (e.g., AOL VoIP services ), device (e.g., a BlackBerry handheld wireless device), or system (e.g., the OnStar in-vehicle safety and security system). ASPs may target a specific segment with content (e.g., ESPN Mobile for sports fans, Virgin Mobile for the youth market). With low barriers to entry and the large potential for innovation and differentiation with IMS applications and content, there are likely to be many ASPs in the ecosystem.

Situational Analysis

With an IMS services architecture, service providers have new opportunities to pursue end-user spending for higher value services in areas such as entertainment, commerce, and business collaboration and productivity. Using a standards-based IP infrastructure, an IMS architecture enables service providers to offer traditional applications such as voice and messaging services in a lower cost structure. Additionally, through easier integration of multiple applications from multiple suppliers or partners with the operator’s network and also with billing and provisioning systems, IMS enables greater innovation and rapid realization of new services. Furthermore, IMS enables a service provider to offer these services and collect revenue from subscribers beyond the traditional geographic boundaries of their own networks to anywhere in the world (depending on legal and regulatory issues) over an IP connection on most any access network technology, fixed or mobile.

This separation of service offerings from geographic coverage means that service providers will compete in a greatly expanded, single global marketplace. The industry will not be segmented by network type as in the past. Cable operators, LECs, IXCs, mobile operators and new access network entrants (e.g., fixed wireless, WiFi technology, WiMAX technology) will all compete for the same subscriber revenue, using a variety of business models. Internet-based applications providers (e.g., Vonage, Yahoo!), as well as IT systems integrators, are already selling services to consumers and/or enterprises without owning an access (or core) network at all. However, services offered from IMS service providers will be able to provide greater functionality, broader coverage via roaming partnerships, end-to-end QoS, and a more consistent user-experience, therefore delivering more value that subscribers will pay more for.

Conclusions

Existing service providers and business models will undergo a fundamental business transformation to survive the competition with new types of service providers already appearing. With limited capital to invest, service providers, regardless of their starting point, will be driven to significant partnering within the industry ecosystem. Using the standard IMS services architecture, three possible ecosystem business models have been described. While the current industry situation will be disruptive to some, it also provides significant opportunity for creating greater value and new industry revenue growth. Service providers will need to leverage a next-generation network IMS architecture and their own ecosystem of strategic and innovative partnerships in their transformed business model.

Barnett is chief architect for the Network Business Consulting practice within Lucent Worldwide Services, helping service-provider customers to transform their business model as well as their networks. He has over twenty years of experience in wireline and wireless telecommunications applications software development, systems engineering, network architecture, product management, and marketing and sales. A long-time member of IEEE, Barnett holds a B.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Clemson University in South Carolina and an M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


No Strings Attached - Securing VoWLAN

By Tim Gore,
Lucent Worldwide Services,
Director, WiFi Solution Development

Tim will be speaking at IT Expo on
Wed. Oct 26, 2005 from 12:30 - 2:15 on the
Technical Challenges to WiFi Telephony Deployment panel.

As VoIP continues its foray into the mainstream, its wireless counterpart, Voice over Wireless Local Area Network (VoWLAN), is beginning to come into play. The two technologies offer users similar capabilities - and also many of the same snares. Many users see security as their top concern in adopting Wi-Fi technologies like VoWLAN.

These security concerns are not unfounded, as VoWLAN's security threats are numerous. They include:

  • Rogue Access Points/Devices - These devices are not monitored and controlled by company security policies, and therefore can allow unobstructed and complete network access to unauthorized and potentially malicious people who are within reach of the wireless network. In addition, they expose the company or individual to various viruses and worms.
  • Unauthorized Users - These unauthorized people can gain access to a company or individual's network through rogue or under-protected access points. As a result, the network is exposed to viruses and intellectual property leakage.
  • Uneducated Users - As with most security situations, one of the most effective safety mechanisms is to keep users informed and educated - whether they use a company or personal Wi-Fi network.

Security Through Standards and Solutions

In light of the spiraling security issues surrounding VoWLAN, improved solutions and standardization have been developed, such as the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) standard 802.11i, a security standard for Wi-Fi networks. 802.11i features improved encryption with Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), easier setup using a pre-shared key, and the ability to use RADIUS-based 802.1X authentication of users.

In addition to the 802.11i standard, a variety of products and solutions can help secure a VoWLAN network. As with VoIP security, companies should consider having a security assessment run by a third party to uncover the best security options for their organization. These security measures include:

  • User Authentication - Devices like passwords, user names, and frequently changing pin numbers ensure only valid users are allowed access to the VoWLAN network. Products like Lucent's NavisRadiusT Authentication, Authorization and Accounting (AAA) Server provide this kind of protection. For more information on the award winning NavisRadiusT AAA, go to page 13.
  • Data Protection - It's vital to protect sensitive data like intellectual property and proprietary documents that may be sent outside the network or accessed in the event of a network breach. If such a breach or interception of e-mail occurs, the data cannot be compromised if it is properly protected.
  • Encryption - By encrypting data with passwords and codes, malicious and unauthorized users cannot gain access to sensitive data if intercepted.
  • VPN Overlay - To ensure complete security, organizations should consider employing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on top of all other security measures, like Lucent's VPN Firewall Brick�.

Ensuring High QoS

The downside of a secure VoWLAN network is loss of bandwidth - which can negatively affect quality of service (QoS) for the user. Poor QoS may drive users away from VoWLAN and towards other, more traditional, voice services.

These VoWLAN QoS concerns were taken seriously by the IEEE, which is currently developing standard 802.11e. The standard will enhance previous 802.11 standards with new quality-of-service (QoS) features and multimedia support, giving priority to voice service over data applications in WLAN networks, ensuring voice calls have the highest QoS possible. Consistent QoS is vital to the future growth of VoWLAN. In fact, the industry analyst group Frost and Sullivan noted in a recent report that 802.11e's priority for voice may be a key factor in the growth of VoWLAN.

The security industry's fight against VoWLAN security threats seems to be having a positive affect on customer's views on the technology. Fifty-two percent of respondents of the Yankee Group's "Enterprise Wireless Technology Survey" reported they have either deployed, are piloting or plan to deploy VoWLAN solutions within the next 12 months. It seems clear that as VoWLAN security solutions and standards continue to evolve and improve, adoption of the technology will continue to do the same.

Note: This article will be featured in the Fall 2005 edition of LUX, Lucent Technologies' customer magazine. To read the full issue, "Securing the World's Communications," visit www.lucent.com/lux, starting November 1, 2005.

As Director for the Lucent Worldwide Services Wi-Fi Solution Development group, Tim Gore pairs leading edge third-party Wi-Fi technology with Lucent's world-class professional services to solve his clients' business challenges. Integrating wireless into enterprise operations in even relatively simple ways-such as equipping their mobile professionals with cell phones-has already significantly improved productivity. More than half of Gore's twenty-year career in telecommunications has been focused on the professional services business. During that time, Gore has held positions in marketing, operations, and product management for Tellabs, AT&T, and Lucent Technologies and served clients in the healthcare, software, and telecommunications industries. Gore has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BSEE from The Ohio State University.


Hosted Call Centers Ease The Transition To IP

Jim Flack,
Offer Manager for Hosted Applications,
Lucent Worldwide Services

Jim Flack is speaking at IT Expo on
Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 8:30 – 9:15 a.m on the
Transition Your Contact Center to IP panel

Today's application world is moving almost as fast as data in a network. Companies are frequently rolling out all sorts of new services to consumers and businesses from Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). These offers have the potential to give exciting new capabilities to customers while fattening the "wallets" of both telecommunications service providers and enterprises alike. But the use of IP technology in the network can also fundamentally change business models and processes for things that are not as flashy as content driven applications like IPTV and presence/location-enabled applications. The transition of these core business applications to an IP world will also have a tremendous impact on one of the cornerstones of global businesses today -- customer call centers.

Never Underestimate the Importance of Customer Service

As we race ahead with new technologies, having well designed customer support networks is crucial as more and more customers will have more difficult and complex questions as their services converge on one network. From a customer care perspective, a call center needs to be able to quickly and seamlessly handle these questions bringing in the appropriate higher-level resources when necessary. In addition, minimizing costs is a key element of effective client management, meaning call centers have to balance the fine line between great customer service and effective use of staff time. This growing demand for customer service also makes it increasingly difficult to staff and retain call center employees while keeping costs under control. Companies are looking for new ways to improve self-service options and extend easy-to-navigate automated help to every communications device.

The structure of an IP environment has the ability to bring about significant change to call center operations. The knitting together of "real-time" technologies such as instant messenger, email and mobile phones can create a virtual network of agents who can be reached at a moment's notice, based on availability. An intelligent network would have the ability to find agents that have the perfect level of skills to meet a customer's needs.

Another emerging capability is the capability to capture and share information collected by the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. Moving to an integrated IP environment may make these processes easier, including building better models for call queues, better information capture, automated trouble ticketing and instant access to call history. Improving these seemingly mundane operations may yield significant cost savings by limiting both the inbound call loads and time that each agent spends with a customer.

Obviously the migration to IP in the call center is a huge undertaking. Some companies will choose to migrate their networks themselves, adding the call center functionality to the normal network load. But another attractive way is to move toward more creative, cost effective IT solutions such as a "hosted environment." Increasingly, companies are exploring ways to outsource the support and maintenance of their corporate networks to a third-party, even with critical applications like call centers. The hosted model is so flexible a customer can use it indefinitely or just for a period of time while they are building or upgrading their network. In many cases the move to a hosted environment can decrease the time to market dramatically. This is a necessary advantage in a rapidly moving, highly competitive marketplace.

Hosting Offers Tangible & Immediate Benefits

It goes almost without saying that making this option viable takes the skills and technology power of world class Network Operations Centers, also known as NOCs - or GNOCs, Global Network Operations Centers. One advantage of partnering with a company that has a GNOC for hosting is that each customer gains a number of tangible benefits from moving to a hosted model. Obviously these benefits are applicable for any hosted application such as VoIP and messaging to hosted call centers. They include:

  • Alignment of Business Objectives: Benefits of successful outsourcing arrangements go beyond simple cost reductions as they may also help companies achieve future business objectives. This kind of arrangement has the ability to help to grow revenues, free up resources to work on future business enhancements, increase customer satisfaction and retention and improve return on investment.
  • Resource Redeployment : By using someone else to do the heavy lifting, stranded assets that can be redeployed to support new projects, applications development and customers. With a streamlined network and operations process, you can be more flexible and responsive to your customer’s needs.
  • OpEx Reduction: Reduction of operational expenses is always a critical goal for outsourcing. Removing operational layers and process overlaps by accessing an outsourced provider with an existing delivery platform facilitates cost reductions while assuring instant network quality.
  • Network Performance Enhancement: Outsourcing services can identify constraints on current network performance and identify critical issues before they impact the network. By right-sizing and optimizing the network you can reduce network downtime and service degradation events while optimizing customer applications and network facilities usage.
  • Streamline Business Model: The day-to-day burdens of operating a network can strain and defocus the mission of an IT organization. By streamlining day-to-day operational duties, the organization can spend more time supporting strategic planning and future technology goals.

We are just starting to see customers who are taking advantage of all of these benefits for their call centers. For instance, we have been working with some of our customers on state-of-the-art hosted call centers that can seamlessly interface with customers via the telephone, the Internet and e-mail. The call center functionality can then be layered with number of surround services, including diagnostic performance, security, trouble-shooting and network restoration and contact management.

Clearly the ‘everything-over-IP revolution’ will have a great impact on every aspect of our business and personal lives. With new products and services growing by leaps and bounds and network convergence becoming a near-term reality, large-scale applications such as call centers will be impacted by the changes. Overall, the potential of an IP Call Center offers tantalizing and flexible options that may greatly improve customer satisfaction levels without greatly increasing operations costs.

The actual migration to IP can be a somewhat painful, so exploring the benefits of a hosted offering may be an attractive solution in the long run. Hosted solutions can deliver high-quality, secure new applications and get them up and running more quickly than a complete network build. Keeping pace in the communications world is a challenge, but with the right support system, this brave new world can be an extremely profitable one as well.

Jim Flack, Offer Manager for Hosted Applications, Lucent Worldwide Services, joined Lucent Technologies in April of 2005 and has a diverse background in service provider product development, finance and operations. Most recently with Sprint, Flack was a key member of an innovation team that drove converged product development across access networks and customer segments. Flack has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.


The Wizard Behind the Curtain

Dr. Raymond Pennotti, Ph.D.
Lucent Technologies

Raymond Pennotti is a keynote speaker
at the IT Telephony Conference & Expo on
Monday, October 24th at 4:45pm PST.

In the last 20 years communications has truly experienced a revolution. From an era in which people were limited by their access technology -- a phone hooked to a cord on the wall, a prime time television schedule or a daily letter delivery to a mail carrier -- we have emerged in a world with almost constant communication access anytime and anywhere. Every year it seems that new devices and services take us even closer to instant on-demand access to people, games, news and entertainment. Now we are faced with challenges such as which device should be plugged into the car’s power source – the cell phone or the iPOD? -- or, is it really necessary to bring the Blackberry, mobile phone and the laptop?

Even these daily dilemmas will soon become relics of a by-gone era. The long predicted “rise of the all powerful network” is coming to fruition. True network intelligence can deliver seamless access over any technology. It can also deliver presence-powered networks – allowing companies to find available workers at a moment’s notice when customers need an immediate answer. It offers limitless new applications for business and home, and many opportunities for savvy service providers and enterprises. New converged services offer ways to deliver content of all kinds -- entertainment, reference and business – blended seamlessly into consumer lifestyles or enterprise business operations.

A Look Behind the Curtain

While this futuristic reality is well on its way, there are still a number of challenges behind the scenes to deliver on the ultimate promise of true seamless, access-independent communications. Unfortunately what is so high-tech and glamorous on the surface – new sleek modern devices running seamless applications -- gets a lot more complicated when you take a peek into a large central office or enterprise communications center. Of course there are a number of shiny new boxes, but there are also lots of not-so-new pieces of equipment, a myriad of vendors, a constant hum of construction activity, and suddenly the brave new communications world is looking more like a college lab than an operating network. There’s a growing demand for new services such as instant messaging, multimedia messaging and VoIP, pushing networks towards a next-generation model that takes advantage of the flexibility of an IP backbone. Yet the transition to the new world entails a difficult journey, and even when the network has evolved and is working seamlessly, emerging security risks still need to be addressed. Just within the simple confines of one company’s network there are a number of integration issues – imagine as we move to a converged model (i.e. mobile phones talking through office PBX’s) the kinds of issues we need to address.

The industry is developing on the convergence front new standards that will provide a simplified framework for both devices and applications. The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) -- which began in the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) as an industry standard for wireless providers -- has now been adopted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to specify a next-generation network (NGN) architecture for delivering lower-cost advanced revenue-generating services for all types of service providers and enterprises.

Getting from Here to There

The good news is that network transformation is tractable with sufficient planning and the right migration model. Nevertheless, the path to the target network environment is a journey, and each step will have potential for major business impacts to both service provider and enterprise networks. The steps to “renewing” and transforming your business include:

  • Service Bundling – By packaging existing services such as voice, data, and cable, service providers are able to offer new bundled offers to customers. The packaging enhances customer loyalty with minor incremental investment, albeit without the operational efficiencies promised by a unified architecture.
  • Introduction of New Network Technology – For most businesses, technology will be introduced at the outset in pockets of the network, where it will be tested and assessed against the desired services and network characteristics, such as throughput and reliability. Implementing new technology near the edges of the network will enable new services, such as high-speed data and video.
  • Enhanced Applications – Networks are quickly moving to an IP-centric world. This modern core network technology provides a common environment for new and existing services. Even legacy voice systems are now migrating rapidly to VoIP. The hosting of existing network services and applications on a new IP core provides near-term operational cost savings.
  • Network Architectural Design – Once the core network infrastructure is re-designed, adding session control, common user-data store, and convergence across access networks, fundamental new opportunities are available. It is at this point in the journey that the network has evolved to allow flexible blending of new applications on a multi-services network, creating sophisticated new service offerings custom-tailored to user lifestyles and business objectives.
  • Business Re-invention –The journey is not complete until business processes have evolved to respond more rapidly and effectively to the changing business and consumer world. New network capabilities offering value-rich services must be supported by service-oriented operations and customer driven processes. When a business has taken this final step in the journey, transformation will have seamlessly integrated communications and information into the lives of consumers and enterprises in ways never envisioned with traditional purpose-built networks.
Planning Saves Time and Money

The key to a successful transformation is a systematic, comprehensive plan. It should be based on a business strategy identifying supported services. This will drive decisions about the architecture of the target network and specific vendor selections. Once this is done, a migration plan needs to be developed.

In an enterprise environment, this starts with a network readiness assessment of the core network and upgrades as appropriate. A complete security plan then needs to be developed and incorporated into the architecture before the target network is built and users are migrated.

In a service provider network, the migration plan must address five related dimensions of migration:

  1. Transport migration
  2. Network Database Migration
  3. Protocol Migration
  4. Operations Support System Migration and Synchronization, and
  5. Traffic Migration

Although as discussed above, the migration execution is a journey that will take many years for most large service providers, it is essential that all of these dimensions be fully planned from the outset. Unless this is done, the operator risks expending capital that will not ultimately contribute to the target network configuration.

Another major element of the plan is the network design, which must account for the multi-services nature of the network. The multiple applications to be carried on the common core IP network have distinct traffic characteristics and performance requirements. Although the network is substantially simpler than the overlaid purpose-built networks that it replaces, the network design is more complex. And because the network architecture is such a major departure from that of the legacy networks, a clean-sheet design is required for an efficient target network to be deployed.

It is only after the architecture, the migration plan and the network design are complete that a full-scale program plan can be developed. The scale of the migration and the multi-vendor nature of the target network demand that the plan be integrated across all dimensions of the network and executed with discipline.

The communications world we live in is changing rapidly. For those of us who work on networks, that world -- a web of complex, interwoven networks -- is changing as well. New demands and new ways of communication in both our business and personal lives are driving this network transformation. New approaches like those based on the IMS standard are going to push the envelope and enable these blended lifestyle services to end-users. Even with the evolving technology and standards this integration work is tough. Network operators must view every aspect of their network and take into account each device, access, core and application concern. The bottom line is that solid migration plans are required for applications, services quality and network performance as well as security issues. Taking the right steps today can ensure a smooth and cost-effective transition.

Raymond Pennotti, PhD, Managing Vice President of Professional Services for Lucent Worldwide Services . Within Lucent’s Worldwide Services division, Dr. Pennotti is responsible for network planning, design, integration, optimization and program management services. He moved to Lucent from AT&T’s wireless communications business unit, where he was responsible for field introduction of the first TDMA system in the U.S. and deployment and technical support of large-scale CDMA systems.

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