|Topic:||Enable seamless services with softswitching|
|Author:||Parmindra Kwatra and Venkat Eswara|
|Title:||(Parmindra Kwatra) Country Head, Director and General Manager, Global Telecom Solutions Sector and (Venkat Eswara) Senior Marketing Manager of Systems Marketing and Portfolio Management, Global Telecom Solutions Sector|
Mr Parmindra Kwatra is country head, director and general manager for Motorola India’s telecom infrastructure business (Global Telecom Solutions Sector). Before joining Motorola, Mr Kwatra served as Vice-President and Head of Sales, for the Mobile Networks business (India and South-East Asia) at Siemens India. Kwatra also served as the Marketing Director for AT&T’s Wireless business. Mr Kwatra began his career with the Tata Group, and then moved on to BPL. Parmindra Kwatra earned a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, holds a Post Graduate qualification in Management and is a Fellow of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers. Mr Kwarta has also attended senior management programmes at the AT&T School of Business, Siemens – IMI, Lusanne University and the Siemens-Fuqua School of Business, USA on leadership, strategic management and financial discipline.
Mr Venkat Eswara is a Senior Marketing Manager in the Global Marketing Organisation of Motorola’s Global Telecom Solutions Sector. His current focus is in the areas of next generation wireless core networks –softswitches, IMS–and the evolution to IP-based converged core network services. Before, Mr Eswara worked in Strategy, Product Management, and Product Development in the area of wireless infrastructure. In addition to the eight years he brings to the telecommunications market, Mr Eswara also has over five years of experience in engineering consulting in the electric power industry.
Operators expect converged core networks to reduce the infrastructure investment needed to deliver a diverse, competitive, range of services. India’s unified licensing plan, which lets operator’s select access alternatives for each service, fundamentally changes the market. Softswitch / IP-based, architecture provides low cost, seamless service and covers wide areas with simpler infrastructures than traditional networks and minimises backbone connection, backhaul, costs. Seamless connections between a wide variety of wired and wireless network technologies and service platforms are facilitated.
Deregulation of India’s telecommunication market is having a profound impact on the nation’s economic growth. Just as exciting, the new, more open market will likely propel India into becoming one of the countries with the most advanced infrastructures in the world. Boundaries between wireless, wireline, broadband and the Internet are crumbling as network technologies begin to converge. Operators in every major world market are looking toward converged core networks to leverage their infrastructure investments and deliver a diverse range of services. India’s unified licensing plan will accelerate the process, fundamentally changing the market by enabling operators to select the most cost-efficient access alternative for each service. Today’s subscribers are not only looking for cost-effective telephony, but also for a growing selection of non-telephony capabilities. They seek e-mail, Short Message Service (SMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), Push-To-Talk over Cellular (PoC), and Presence Services using a variety of end-user devices. To increase customer loyalty, grow ARPU and differentiate from competitors, operators need to provide low cost, seamless, service. Currently, wireless subscriber penetration in India is about three per cent. Projections suggest that rate will rocket to more than 15 per cent within five years, making it critical to rapidly deploy services across the country. How can an operator make the most of the opportunities presented by the deregulated market? Softswitching technology can deliver solid benefits, both for immediate efficiency and for future growth as the market migrates from 2G, to 3G, to all-IP networks. Softswitch–evolving networks to meet operator needs Softswitching, with its IP-based internal switching architecture, provides a backbone that delivers today’s diverse traffic more efficiently, and brings true network convergence within reach. Faster and easier services introduction means network deployment plans can be more creative and better targeted, yielding higher revenues and increased operational savings. A key advantage of the softswitch over legacy MSC (mobile services switching centre) is its distributed core architecture. This can extend services across wide-area geographical regions without requiring an entire MSC at the remote sites. This allows small to medium Communities Of Interest (COIs) to be inexpensively interconnected. When IP transmission is available, the service can be extended using VoIP (Voice over IP) to connect to the network backbone (backhaul). As the network evolves to widespread deployment of IP in the transmission, operators may consolidate the high capacity control switching and OAMP (Operations, Administration, Management and Provisioning) in one region to simplify the network’s management by deploying only media gateways in remote regions. Operator benefits CapEx and OPEX savings by leveraging/reusing resources Softswitches with remote media gateway capabilities let operators extend their service areas without the need to duplicate the MSCs, saving the capital expense. In addition, highly skilled staff can be consolidated exclusively at the ‘hosting’ site to provide full network management, reducing operating costs. Further savings can be achieved by using voice compressions when routing traffic over IP rather than traditional TDM networks. Going forward, softswitches will also make it possible to transport compressed speech in a packet transport network, eliminating unnecessary coding and decoding of the signal and the delays associated with it. By transporting only compressed speech, TFO (Transcoder Free Operations) can improve bandwidth use efficiency. This allows better voice quality and lower costs. Unlike in legacy systems, the transcoding resources in a softswitching network can be efficiently managed for the entire network. Backhaul costs savings between the large and small/medium COIs In legacy networks with no switching function at the remote sites, remote traffic must be backhauled to the hosting MSC site–and bear the resulting high costs. The softswitch remote media gateway only backhauls traffic that connects to an end-point outside the small/medium COI, reducing transmission costs significantly reduced. Higher reliability, scalability and ‘customability’ When it comes to offering new services based on softswitching technology and redundancy, scalability and ‘customability’ are important to the operators. To ensure reliability, softswitches have redundant servers; automatic management shifts calls to a secondary server should hardware or software failures occur. Flexible scaling of the call control server, independent of the media gateway, lets operators scale the network to meet demand more easily. As the customer-base expands, the media gateway and signaling resources can be easily managed. In addition, server resources can be partitioned for individual customers, or customer segment, letting them offer customised service plans. Seamless services on softswitches The ability of softswitches to handle multiple protocols lets them easily deliver services beyond traditional telephony. Softswitches offer a highly scalable, higher interoperable way to work with signaling that supports VoIP. Consequently, operators can expand their networks to offer a wide range of telephony and non-telephony services such as PoC, multimedia messaging, instant messaging and chat, video conferencing and multimedia group calling. Softswitches take advantage of IP’s network independence to create core applications that can use a full range of radio access technologies and can seamlessly bring new services and applications to wireless, WiFi enterprise, home, and SOHO markets. In a legacy environment, each application must be customised to work with the underlying radio access technology. IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) architecture with softswitch capability allows a single application to work with all IP enabled wireless access networks, making applications more portable and investments in their development more valuable. End-users will be able to access a wide variety of business or personal lifestyle applications using their handsets, PDAs, or desktops. Subscribers will be able to access messages using diverse media from a single mailbox, while roaming between networks. With deregulation of the telecommunication market in India, end-user services can help drive operators, while they address capacity and cost issues. The IP core infrastructure enables operators to introduce new business models that are better suited for the future. To maximise profits, the core services platform should various protocols to give the end-user seamless service using different access networks. Softswitches with open interfaces have the flexibility to support a wide range of third-party applications. From the operator’s perspective, it provides speed to market, flexibility to choose from third-party vendors and carrier-grade infrastructure reliability. The future is near To gain market share profitably, operators must make smart investment choices. In India today, the right choices are even more critical. There is tremendous potential for gains in the fast-changing market that deregulation will create. However, to achieve those gains, operators and service providers will be forced to differentiate, to grow the available markets and to build their share in end-user spending. In next-generation softswitch platforms, operators and service providers find the flexibility they need to succeed. With softswitch, services can be launched quickly, multiple protocols can be supported simultaneously, and costs can be vigorously contained. Operators who adopt new-generation platforms will have a clear competitive edge in delivering seamless services across different access networks.