Last week, I wrote about the drivers behind the recent increase in IP multimedia system (IMS) deployments. As communication service providers (CSPs) begin to embrace IMS, it’s important to remember that co-existence and phasing is vital in many of the deployments where VoLTE and IMS networks meet. As things stand, IP-based next-gen networks (NGNs) and circuit-switched networks not only continue to co-exist, but are also poised to do so for many years to come. This requires interworking between these different network architectures.
IMS provides a network model that addresses two key considerations facing CSPs as they migrate to modern networks:
- The delivery of converged, media-rich applications over packet-switched, all-IP networks
- The critical interworking to support voice communications between 4G (LTE), 3G, 2G and fixed legacy and NGN networks
The outstanding challenge for these CSPs is managing this migration without also incurring high costs or disrupting customer service. In a market climate where the average revenue per user is either flat or growing at a minimal rate, and where low-cost or free over-the-top (OTT) communications applications are eroding market share, the prevailing sentiment is that CSPs need to manage their migration carefully and leverage their existing network assets for as long as practically possible. CSPs are looking for a smart approach that will provide a seamless transition from legacy to NGN to IMS/VoLTE.
This is what I call “Smart IMS.” These CSPs are using IMS to solve multiple problems at once. They are leveraging IMS without implementing a forklift network upgrade in the process. In other words, they’re using a smart migration strategy that allows them to leverage NGN network elements through built-in IMS capabilities and migrate the rest of the network over to IMS as their CAPEX allows. Additionally, many IMS solutions are currently either software-based or at least running on COTS architectures, enabling them to more easily migrate to network function virtualization (NFV) initiatives as they get rolled out by the industry. If IP transformation is in your future, check out Dialogic’s latest whitepaper to learn how to get to IMS smarter and faster.