Nokia Talks Core Convergence
The Finnish firm was happy to talk tech, but no one wanted to chance their arm on when an all-IP network might actually start to be rolled out in anything but a test situation.
"How long is a piece of string?" retorted Graham Ellis, director of marketing, broadband systems, when Unstrung popped the timescale question.
Nokia's basic concept for "all-IP" is to have a packet core network that carries data from the different network types, with access networks supporting third generation (3G), wireless LAN, and broadband data hanging off it.
"At the end of the day we are converging on IP," says Ellis. "You can build a single network to support that." It is the access networks that are the problem. On the wireless side, there are some daunting challenges in enabling users to roam between short- and long-range networks and allowing carriers to bill them for usage when they do so.
Jack Yang, a member of sales management at Nokia broadband systems, says Nokia will apply some of the lessons it has learned here about GSM networking. He says Nokia could use location register (home location register, visitor location register) databases to authenticate and track users.
The firm also says that fixed technology it is using now, such as the new ASR 2020 edge router -- based on kit Nokia acquired when it bought Amber Networks in July 2001 -- will eventually end up in wireless networks (see Nokia Nabs Amber for $421M).
There are lots of common issues facing broadband service providers and wireless carriers -- such as developing push technologies and sophisticated media services and billing for different types of data.
"Broadband is one of the reference models for 3G," says Yang. "It is important for Nokia to draw experience for 3G." However, in general, Nokia has not drawn a lot of support for its IP initiatives so far. In February, at the 3GSM Congress, it announced a project to define "open standards" for base-station architecture for use in next-generation, all-IP radio access networks -- to a deafening silence from most other major equipment vendors (see Nokia Triggers 3G Standards Debate).
Nokia really needs other major infrastructure vendors, such as Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY) and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) onside, if it is to push on with its ambitious plans.
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung