Tracking the End of the TDM Era
Telecom providers are beginning to speed up the replacement of time division multiplex (TDM) networks for a couple of reasons. First, they are finding it increasingly difficult to get parts for digital switches, and the skill set needed to service them is beginning to disappear as knowledgeable workers retire. Second, and perhaps more importantly, telcos are changing their perception of IP: They no longer view it as a disruptive technology; rather, they are embracing it as means for delivering new services.
For the next few months, Light Reading will be operating a TDM Replacement Briefing Center, where you can follow the industry’s progress on moving toward a converged all-IP network for voice and data.
For an excellent overview of the topic, check out this new Heavy Reading white paper "Network Modernization in the Era of All-IP Networks." In the paper, Hodges explains the drivers for TDM replacement and examines softswitches and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) as options for replacing TDM in the core network. Hodges also profiles three network operators in various stages of upgrading their networks.
Hodges also hosted a webinar in April, Evolving TDM Networks, which provides a good discussion of the challenges associated with TDM replacement:
Other recent Heavy Reading research shows just how quickly the end of the digital switch era is dawning. Hodges predicts that by 2015 more than 66 percent of local installed lines in North America will be served by VoIP technology, up from just 16 percent in 2010. See a recent analyst note about his research here:
And for some historical perspective, check out Hodges’s note from 2008:
Light Reading also provides ongoing news coverage of TDM replacement. For insight into the challenges network operators face in keeping up their aging TDM switches and the options they have moving forward, take a look at these articles by Light Reading's chief editor, events, Carol Wilson:
— Dawn Bushaus, Contributing Editor, Light Reading