June 30, 2008
10:40 AM -- Some operators just can’t wait for the so-called 4G technology, Long-Term Evolution (LTE), to get a flat network architecture, and they’re taking a veritable rolling pin to their 3G networks. (See All-IP Architectures Square Off and 4G Drives All-IP Mobile Networks.)
Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) and Hutchison 3G Austria GmbH are the first operators to implement Direct Tunnel technology using gear from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Networks , respectively. (See Telstra Does Direct Tunnel, NSN Flattens 3G Network Design, and 3G Austria Goes Flat With NSN.)
Implementing the Direct Tunnel specification is one way for operators to flatten the 3GPP network architecture with the hope of achieving lower latency, lower cost per bit, support for multiple access networks, and preparation for next-generation 4G. With Direct Tunnel, the Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) is removed from the bearer path so that a direct tunnel is created between the radio network controller (RNC) and the Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN).
Direct Tunnel and other approaches to flat networks on the road to 4G are all spelled out in the recent Heavy Reading report, "Flat IP Architectures in Mobile Networks: From 3G to LTE."
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung
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