Main­stream­ing of VoLTE, VoWiFi, LTE-A

Voice&Data - - COLUMN -

Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Man­ager, Asia Pa­cific, Sonus Net­works

015 was an ex­cit­ing year in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try and we also saw 5G cre­at­ing a lot of hype. It re­ceived more me­dia cov­er­age and in­dus­try buzz than any other tech­nol­ogy.

Ex­perts ex­plain that it will de­liver faster mo­bile data rates, broader wire­less cov­er­age, more ef­fi­cient sig­nal­ing and lower la­tency. How­ever, the con­sen­sus is that 5G will reach main­stream adop­tion closer to 2020.

In­stead of wait­ing till then, in 2016 we ex­pect to see the main­stream adop­tion of ini­tia­tives such as Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) and LTE-Ad­vanced (LTE-A).

If we look at VoLTE, the busi­ness case for oper­a­tors is sim­ple. It re­duces cost for oper­a­tors by en­abling voice, video, and data to run over a com­mon IP in­fra­struc­ture and pro­vides them with the abil­ity to re-farm 3G spec­trum for LTE ex­pan­sion.

This, in turn, ben­e­fits to­day’s mo­bile worker by im­prov­ing the over­all qual­ity of ex­pe­ri­ence, de­liv­er­ing high-def­i­ni­tion voice and pro­vid­ing the abil­ity to run voice, video and data ap­pli­ca­tions con­cur­rently on the same hand­set.

VoWiFi, sim­i­larly, de­liv­ers oper­a­tors with in­creased cov­er­age and ca­pac­ity, op­ti­mized net­work ac­cess and the abil­ity to ex­tend ser­vices eas­ily to Wi-Fi. This tech­nol­ogy pro­vides to­day’s mo­bile worker with sim­ple, se­cure un­re­stricted con­nec­tiv­ity and mo­bil­ity be­tween Wi-Fi and cel­lu­lar IP net­works, even out­side of LTE cov­er­age.

At the same time, over the past year terms like Net­work Func­tions Vir­tu­al­iza­tion (NFV), Soft­ware-De­fined Net­work­ing (SDN), and Cloud net­work­ing were ex­em­pli­fied as im­por­tant in­dus­try trends and we will see th­ese ramp­ing-up in 2016.

Al­though we con­tinue to see NFV out­pace the no­tion of SDN, in 2016 SDN strate­gies will be­come in­creas­ingly preva­lent.

In the past, net­work in­fra­struc­tures have been static and the idea of mi­grat­ing to an all soft­ware-de­fined net­work, al­though full of prom­ise, has been a scary propo­si­tion to many or­ga­ni­za­tions, of­ten viewed as “too much to han­dle.

How­ever, we’ve seen an in­flux of SDN so­lu­tions that don’t re­quire the re-ar­chi­tect­ing of a net­work by re­plac­ing ev­ery router with a white box switch.

Es­sen­tially, in­stead of cre­at­ing en­tirely new net­work ar­chi­tec­ture, com­pa­nies are de­liv­er­ing SDN so­lu­tions to drive net­work value, while cus­tomers de­velop their strat­egy and mi­grate to a core SDN-in­fra­struc­ture.

Th­ese so­lu­tions en­able new busi­ness mod­els, such as Net­work-as-a-Ser­vice, where ser­vice providers are able to put a layer of au­to­ma­tion on top of their net­work in­fra­struc­ture, al­low­ing them to con­fig­ure the net­work how they want to use it, when they want to use it, and dy­nam­i­cally par­ti­tions it to pro­vide en­ter­prises with ben­e­fits such as data cen­ter in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity.

As NFV and the ever-grow­ing tran­si­tion to the cloud con­tinue to gain pop­u­lar­ity in 2016, the next log­i­cal evo­lu­tion of the cloud in­fra­struc­ture is the ex­pan­sion of the ser­vice provider’s vir­tual edge all the way to the en­ter­prise premise.

Tra­di­tion­ally, when a ser­vice provider sold net­work func­tions to an en­ter­prise, such as a Ses­sion Bor­der Con­troller (SBC), they sup­plied them with cus­tomer premise equip­ment (CPE) and re­quired some­one to go on-site, turn-up and de­ploy the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Now that the in­dus­try has fi­nally reached a point where a large set of ap­pli­ca­tions that were pre­vi­ously tied to pro­pri­etary hard­ware can now be run on generic com­mer­cial off-the-shelf (COTS) com­put­ing hard­ware, ser­vice providers have new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

With this tran­si­tion, ser­vice providers can now bring their “vir­tual” Cloud in­fra­struc­ture to the en­ter­prise premise. Now, CPE is be­com­ing vir­tu­al­ized and ap­pli­ca­tions are be­ing man­aged by the ser­vice provider from its core cloud in­fra­struc­ture.

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