The five key requirements for a smarter network are:
1. All-IP networks.
Only IP networks are able to change fast enough to meet new user behaviour. With all-IP, platforms become scalable like never before, with software, more than hardware, bringing new capabilities and capacity.
2. Flatter, simpler transport network architecture.
This is achieved by merging two or more technologies or two or more parts of the network. The low cost structure of flat architecture brings simplicity and extreme efficiency to transport networks.
3. Technologies for seamless handover of devices between mobile and fixed access points.
Smart devices will seek mobile or ‘fixed’ (WiFi) access points and the difference between these two worlds will become ever more blurred. The user shouldn’t need to know how often or when a handover between the two occurs.
4. Convergence of core networks.
This is already being seen in the adoption by fixed networks of IP Multimedia Subsystem, or IMS, technology. Originating on the mobile side, LTE will make IMS finally come of age. LTE is packet based and IMS is required to optimise the entire network.
Moving service applications onto virtualised IT servers makes more efficient use of hardware resources. This has the potential to offer enormous cost savings, of up to 90% over physical IT servers.
In addition to these five “technological” requirements, service providers must also adopt smarter business models. Instead of building and running their own transport networks (for example) they can use vendors with global scale and local expertise. By outsourcing operations, they can optimise costs and focus on their core business.
Overall, we encompass the critical, successful components from both the fixed and mobile worlds. Just one example of this is in our approach to transport networks. Most optical network vendors lack IP expertise and IP players lack optical technologies, management systems and a services portfolio. System integrators can’t deliver their own portfolio, while local suppliers lack a global perspective. We are placed to take a holistic approach to these issues in transport.
We’re reflecting this holistic approach with our news from Broadband World Forum 2010 that includes new deals, technology and services. There’s a unique, three-way, 3G network sharing project for SFR in France, the launch of Managed Transport Services, and the capability of copper access lines to provide fixed broadband access at very high data rates (825Mbps over 400 metres!) using Phantom DSL.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Look forward to your comments.
Photo: courtesy Anita Hart, Flickr