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IMS

IMS Takes Over the World

The latest report from Heavy Reading charts the rise of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) technology, and says that it is key to fixed-line carriers' ability to deploy services more cheaply, despite the technology's roots in the mobile world.

At its core, IMS is a means of delivering IP applications over different types of wired and wireless access networks (see IMS Guide). And the report, entitled "IMS and the Future of Network Convergence," finds that "IMS stands a good chance of becoming the primary network and service architecture for delivering revenue-generating IP applications on Tier 1 networks."

"It’s not too much to say that many vendors and some service providers now see IMS as the single most important telecom technology development of this decade, and almost all now see it as one of the most important," writes Graham Finnie, the report's author.

"All major equipment vendors, many mainstream IT suppliers, and a host of smaller specialist companies have committed to the IMS architecture. Yet there are very few true IMS deployments to date, and many unanswered questions about where, why, and how IMS is best implemented." Indeed, Finnie doesn't see many deployments happening until 2006 or 2007. And when deployments do happen, he writes that fixed-line carriers will be in the driving seat.

"IMS is now far more than just the means to mobile multimedia or even FMC [fixed/mobile convergence]; its transition from 3G to mainstream NGN [next-generation network] has been rapid. Although IMS was initially defined in the cellular mobile industry for 3G networks, many vendors report that there is now greater interest in IMS among wireline carriers than among wireless carriers. The reason: Wireline carriers face a more urgent need to fill the revenue gap, and broadband DSL is a better medium for the wide range of applications that IMS can allow than 3G – primarily because it is inherently higher-bandwidth than 3G, and also because VOIP will be deployed much earlier in broadband than in 3G."

But because the early development work was done on the wireless side, mobile infrastruture vendors have taken an early lead in the market.

"Ericsson and Siemens are currently in the best positions regarding IMS," Finnie writes. "Ericsson has taken a clear lead by virtue of its early commitment to IMS. Its strong wireless heritage is attractive to service providers, and it is the only vendor with a range of announced major IMS contract wins and customers. Siemens also bet early on IMS and has one important customer in KPN. Of the other incumbents, all are now strongly committed to IMS – with the notable exception of Cisco."

The mobile lead should be no surprise. IMS, as we hinted earlier, was initially developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to specify a third-generation mobile system based on evolved GSM core networks and the radio access technologies they support.

But the commercialization and growth of the scope of the technology is encouraging many more players to get in the game. The vendor space is becoming crowded and highly competitive," writes Finnie. Heavy Reading has identified at least 70 companies with an IMS proposition, and no doubt others will be added to the ranks of IMS pursuers in the months ahead.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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DanJones 12/5/2012 | 3:07:31 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World "I sure hope your cell phone has one helluva big battery. Unlike the cellular network, IEEE 802.11b/g and the LAN & IP protocols that sit on top of them aren't particularly optimized for power consumption. You do an awful lot of transmitting when the phone is idle."

Vendors are trying to solve on the device side. Atheros, Broadcomm, and Intel all have -- or are developing low-power 802.11 chipsets -- that "sleep" if the user is idle. But yes I suspect battery life will be issue for the early devices, especially as the cellphone format leads to certain expectations about battery life.

Dan

Dan
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:07:30 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World Its all over but the crying. This is classic Innovator's Delimma. A disruptive technology that disintermediates a costly, over featured, monopoly is used by fringe folks in oddball ways at first.

IBM never thought those longhairs using PCs in CA would threaten the mainframe. Just you wait. Change is always slower than you think in the short term, and faster than you think in the long term.
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 3:07:28 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World turing writes:


The telco's are betting the majority of every-day people/consumers and enterprises choose the latter. They don't care much (I think) about the few geeks who can get much of it to work without them. They care a lot about the vonage's, and I think qos and bundling is their only saving grace there.


There are really two issues here. The first is indicated in the quotation above. Will people want to buy Internet services (services not access) from the telephone company. The second issue is whether IMS provides a basis for the telephone company to create and provide services.

The second question is the easiest to answer. IMS provides the telephone company with the ability to charge for services. There is a lot in it about authorizing and billing for services. However on the issue of how services can be created IMS resorts to hand waving. It has no answer to this question.

The first issue can be broken into two parts. In the first possibility, the telephone company can choose to attempt to create a walled garden a la AOL or Compuserve. For this possibility to work the telephone company will have to create an environment that is better than the Internet. AOL and Compuserve tried this and failed.

The second possibility is that the telephone companies will be able to create services that will attract subscribers on the free Internet. This would be akin to Apple's ITunes or the currently popular ring tones. This is the possibility that has the greater chance of success. However this raises the question of whether IMS is relevant to the creation of useful services. As indicated above IMS's answer to issue of service creation is advice on how to swing one's arms in ever increasing

The above discussion should also be taken with knowledge that the telephone company is the entity that brought the world ISDN, the AIN and Centrex. Given this record, the prospect of the telephone company supplying services that their subscribers will not actively despise is remote.
circles.
turing 12/5/2012 | 3:07:26 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World In the first possibility, the telephone company can choose to attempt to create a walled garden a la AOL or Compuserve. For this possibility to work the telephone company will have to create an environment that is better than the Internet. AOL and Compuserve tried this and failed.

AOL and Compuserv did not have the power to stop you. Broadband and dial-up ISPs were becoming so prevalent that AOL/CS were swimming upstream. But voice is the domain of telco's, and they own the last mile access and the PSTN/cell networks, so it's well within their power to prevent you from achieving an equal voice service from other players (or yourself). Of course cable-co's own a last mile too, but I lump them in with the telco's - their model is not far off of an IMS one (and it appears they want to get closer to IMS). Either way, you're paying for the service.

I totally agree with you that their track record of advanced services has been a case study for business schools of what not to do. But I'm not arguing for that IMS piece - in fact I'm not really arguing any IMS piece, or that the telco's have that much of a clue. I'm just arguing against the people who think the telco's should give up the voice revenue because it's all going to be free anytime soon.
turing 12/5/2012 | 3:07:26 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World IBM never thought those longhairs using PCs in CA would threaten the mainframe. Just you wait.

Actually, I seem to recall IBM being the one that threatened the mainframe, at least with the advent of the AT/XT PC. They got PCs into enterprises, but it took LAN technology to defeat the last application mainframes had a monopoly on: centralized applications, such as databases.

Regardless, the analogy does not equate. Moving to PCs was in the power of the consumers - you could choose to migrate to it without giving up the application benefits. I don't think voice or video distribution is the same situation. You can choose to use Skype, but it's in the power of the telco's/cable-co's to stop you, and you have to give up some benefits.

It's in their power because they own the access network. Thus they can differentiate with latency/throughput/loss, which are specific network transport issues with voice that are not true of other apps. And you give up PSTN access (a big deal). If you want PSTN access, you must pay - even Skype. So then it's just a matter of a cost battle, not an IMS vs. non-IMS argument. And although we may be under the dilusion that the PSTN is going away, we know cell phones won't, and guess who controls them.
Peter Heywood 12/5/2012 | 3:07:23 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World The Fundamentalists are winning...but so far, only 16 people have voted:


http://www.lightreading.com/su...
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 3:07:22 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World The Fundamentalists are winning...but so far, only 16 people have voted:

Au contraire. With 39 people voting over 60% say that IMS is not a fundamental technology. It just goes to show that good sense will triumph over marketing hype. Perhaps we all learned the lesson of the year 2000.
turing 12/5/2012 | 3:07:18 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World I tgought teh 802.11 cellphones were for interworking with private networks. So a user would have an 802.11 phone for mobile use in his enterprise. It would convert to cellular when he left the premises. This is a means for the wireless company to get some business.

Not what I hear, I'm told it's so you can walk into your home 802.11 netork, or a wireless hotspot in a public area, and use the 802.11 network for making calls instead of the cells. (for a discounted rate I guess?)
I guess there could also be homes with bad cell coverage (but you'd think those areas wouldn't have great broadband service either?)
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 3:07:18 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World I tgought teh 802.11 cellphones were for interworking with private networks. So a user would have an 802.11 phone for mobile use in his enterprise. It would convert to cellular when he left the premises. This is a means for the wireless company to get some business.

I suppose that this is a reason that IMS exists. Teh applications would be done by the private network but there has to be a means to authorize the user and account for his servces on the public network.
sgan201 12/5/2012 | 3:07:18 AM
re: IMS Takes Over the World Hi Turing,

I supposed that you are not from USA. In USA as opposed to Europe or Asia, the coverage of cellphone at home is bad. In fact, a lot of American lived in sub-urban area that they cannot receive the cellphone signal. So, having the cellphone coverage enhanced by 802.11 at home make sense in USA. It may not matter to the rest of the world..

Dreamer
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