Light Reading

IMS Guide

Light Reading
LR Mobile Report
Light Reading

IMS is a label that has started springing up all over the telecom industry, whether on individual products, or as vendor systems platforms or interoperability programs. It’s the acronym for IP Multimedia Subsystem, and it is very, very important – a big vision of the future of telecommunications hangs on it. It’s also very, very complicated and pretty abstract.

This tutorial aims to resolve some of that unfortunate conjunction by providing a quick and easy guide to some questions that are frequently asked about IMS. In the report's initial form, answers to a number of basic questions are given, one per page. But the idea is that readers can ask further questions on the message board attached to this article. If you want to send a private message, please email us, and include "IMS Guide" in the subject field. Frequently posed questions will be answered by adding pages to this report.

For a basic understanding of IMS, here are the key starting points:

  • IMS started as a technology for 3G mobile networks (under the auspices of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)), but it is now spreading to next-generation wireline networks and is going to be a key to fixed/mobile convergence. It builds on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which has emerged as the crucial technology for controlling communications in IP-based next-generation networks (NGNs).

  • IMS is about services and applications, enabling telcos, mobile operators, and other service providers to offer rich multimedia services across both next-generation packet-switched and (within obvious limits) traditional circuit-switched networks. It is standards-based and uses open interfaces and functional components that can be assembled flexibly into hardware and software systems to support real-time interactive services and applications.

  • IMS will have a major impact on the telecom industry – including telcos, mobile operators, service providers, vendors, and others – because it will lead to new business models and opportunities, and (hopefully) lower costs through standards-based procurement. It simultaneously lets network owners derive added value from their networks, while opening these networks to third parties (including enterprise customers) to develop and offer enhanced and tailored services and applications of their own. The full exploitation of mass-market broadband will depend on it.

  • The basic set of standards for IMS implementation were released in 2004, and the first implementations are in hand or planned. Both the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) are heavily involved, and IMS standards are still developing to fill in the inevitable gaps and to add new capabilities. However, IMS is still untested in real-life major carrier networks, and its widescale implementation is some years away.

Support for IMS even at this early stage in its development seems to be fairly hard-nosed, if the results of a poll taken during the Light Reading Webinar on which some of this report is based – IMS: A Blueprint for Fixed-Mobile Convergence – are typical:

  • Just over 40% of respondents thought that the most important catalyst for IMS deployment was the service providers’ need to create a more flexible environment for the deployment of applications.
  • 18% thought it was service providers’ need to create a converged fixed and mobile network.
  • 17% thought it was service providers’ need to deploy blended or combinational multimedia applications.
In other words, a large majority in favor of pragmatic flexibility, rather than any fancy and/or more futuristic possibilities.

Here's a hyperlinked list of the questions and answers in this report:

This report is based partly on material drawn from various Light Reading resources, including:

Archived Webinar on IMS:

Paid research reports on IMS:

Light Reading news analysis on IMS:

To learn more about IMS, check out the coming Light Reading Live! conference:

IMS: Blueprint for Fixed-Mobile Convergence
at The Sheraton Hotel (Buckhead) in Atlanta, on Wednesday, March 30, 2005

  • For more information, click here.
  • To register, click here.

— Tim Hills is a freelance telecommunications writer and journalist

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from LR Mobile Report
RootMetrics helps us track the fastest and slowest wireless cities in the US and gives a snapshot of carrier performance peaks and troughs in 2012
Light Reading Mobile compiles a list of public access small-cell products to track this developing wireless infrastructure market
A preview of the news, the trends and the potential traffic nightmare that awaits you in Barcelona
Light Reading Mobile lists all the places where you can subscribe to an LTE service and how much it costs
Light Reading Mobile lists all the places where you can get your hands on a dongle and subscribe to an LTE service
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cisco's Chambers Rules Out Political Bid
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Infinera Fleshes Out Its Metro 100G Story
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/7/2015
Cisco Makes 'Martian' Connection
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/9/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here