Monday, February 27, 2006

All What You Ever Wanted to Know about IMS 

and even what you do NOT want to know, at least not in such detail ;-)

Martin Geddes (Telepocalypse) is discreetly hinting at the Mk2 Moriana Report on IMS, because he is providing the intro. He calls it spiffy, I would call it monstrous. If you are bound for a two weeks vacation on a lonesome island, you may take it with you. It is about 500 pages (20 MB pdf) and contains tons of manufacturers information on their take on IMS. The list of manufacturers providing answers to IMS surveys, IMS application listings, white papers, company profiles and products and services descriptions is quite impressive: Alcatel, Apertio, Capgemini, Ericsson, First Hop, High Deal, Intel, IBM, jNetX, Lucent, Nortel, Nokia, Personeta, Siemens, Tekelec and Tekvizion.

Of course I was not able to read all of it, partially because I was not so keen to read the obvious: explaining to the operators how important IMS is and why they should buy it. It is the operators which are stuck with stranded costs in some years and not the manufacturers ;-)

But I read of course the three introductory articles called IMS Analyst Opinions byMartin Geddes, Rebecca Copeland (Core Viewpoint) and by the Editor from IMS Insider.

If you take these three together, you get an excellent picture of the potential advantages and real problems with IMS.

Let's start with Martin, who is advertised in the intro by Moriana correctly as
one of truly original and independent thinkers in the field. I would recommend that readers listen carefully to his arguments and insights. They present a powerful logic and well marshaled factual evidence on the current state of the telecom industry and its likely future. Astute readers will use Martin’s vision as a pointer towards the right place to look for emerging new opportunities as well as a guide to avoiding costly errors.
Well said ;-) BTW, with costly errors the stranded costs I mentioned above are meant.

Martin starts with the clash of network cultures between IMS and the Internet by first pointing to the End-to-End principle of the Internet (the original still worth reading is here), the benefits derived from this and the consequences:
An unintended consequence of this was to eliminate the carrier as a gatekeeper function, since the meaning and value of the bits was entirely determined by the network edge nodes. The option value was increasingly redeemed by the end users as “consumer surplus” – the cumulative difference between the real value to each user and the amount they actually paid. The telecommunications industry has ever since struggled to re-invent ways of price discriminating between successful applications and re-capturing some of that consumer surplus. Many a session border controller, deep packet inspector and media gateway has been sold as a result.
He continues with:
Alert readers will already note that IMS provides security, reliability and performance guarantees that likewise involve a tension between network core and edge point functions.
I would not say provides, I would say promises, as Martin soon elaborates:
The promised benefit to the user is less spam, spit and spim; fewer dropped calls and glitchy video streams. This presumably translates into premium connectivity
prices. Furthermore, it involves some restoration of price discrimination ability, of benefit to shareholders if not all users.

IMS comes with costs, too: the opportunity cost of spending the same money on increased “best effort” capacity, plus some loss of option value in making the network smarter. The credibility of IMS stands on whether it can deliver on the following simple promise: the benefits above exceed these costs.
Can IMS deliver? He then clearly states some of the challenges, e.g.:
If a packet stream needs to traverse a single non-IMS network (or one where appropriate contracts to prioritise your packet stream aren’t in place), it’s game over for QoS promises. Most service quality issues happen inside edge devices and within LANs – where the lowest statistical smoothing is enjoyed – and well before the packets reach the service provider.
An then he comes to the point:
What about the option value part of the cost equation? For example, will heavyweight SIP scale to the smallest and weakest devices as an edge protocol? What’s the opportunity cost of fixing on SIP? After all, SIP wasn’t designed for many of the functions it is now being put to, and the resulting complexity doesn’t bode well.

If there’s one lesson to take away from the Internet protocol wars, it is that simplicity usually wins.

The same applies across the IMS technology stack. The biggest challenge is how little is needed, not how much.
Here I have the first problem, Martin. Have you ever looked at 3GPP or TISPAN IMS specifications? Take just one an example:

ETSI TS 124 228 Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS);Signalling flows for the IP multimedia call control based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Session Description Protocol (SDP);Stage 3 (715 pages)

And it is getting more and more complicated. Although some people start to talk about simple IMS - forget it. At IETF they also talked already about simple SIP - with no result.

Martin is then proposing the telocos should get in other businesses such as:
Mobile operators are already meeting success in stretching their billing platforms to non- telecommunications services such as parking meter payment. By building on web services standards like ParlayX, IMS stands a real chance of turning telcos into an application platform of choice. The ultimate irony could be that developers adopt IMS despite the complex QoS and media management, not because of it.

Perhaps telcos are belatedly discovering that the capital-intensive network is merely a loss leader in luring people into profitable data-intensive side activities.
And he is also giving some good advice, relating to the only real asset the IMS is providing to the telcos: the user identity aka SIM-card:
Why are call detail records treated like digital effluent, when they embody a treasure trove of social network data? Why can nobody but the telco build services that prevent identity spoofing? After all, it’s the telco that knows where you live, how you were credit checked, or what device you have provisioned. How come Verisign captures so much of the trusted identity profit pool? Why can’t I easily broadcast a message to everyone else in my apartment block, or neighbourhood?
The second analysis is from Rebecca Copeland, she is advertised as:
Rebecca Copeland is an IMS expert, with hands on experience in both major vendors and operators. She has a degree of technical mastery which is widely sought after and an ability to understand and analyze the market impact of new technology. Rebecca focuses on one of the key issues of the day – VoIP vs. IMS. How will this impact the industry? Who will win? Is there
room for both? Rebecca’s overview and analysis in this report, demonstrates clearly that there is no better essay on this issue in print today.
Maybe the last sentence is a bit overdoing it, but the article is really worth reading, especially the first part on VoIP over the Internet (iVoIP). I only have some problems with some of her statements in the second part on IMS, questioning her IMS expertise ;-). For example:
Just like the ISP, an IMS carrier identifies and authenticates the user before allowing any connections to be made, and the media flows directly between the conversing endpoints and does not traverse the session control servers. But unlike iVoIP, IMS media is inspected and managed by pre-determined network policy, for security and quality reasons.
Hello Rebecca, maybe you should look at some current developments in 3GPP, GSMA and TISPAN. Media flows directly between endpoints? Maybe within one network, but definitely NOT between networks. They do not even share the same IP address space. And how can IMS media be inspected, if it flows directly?

The following is also not quite true:
In IMS, it is perceived that the destination Service Providers, may deliver in-coming services to the called party as part of the session. By contrast, in a typical iVoIP connection, the assumption is that both parties are subscribers of the same service provider. So, in fact, IMS fosters cross-entities interworking, while iVoIP appear to be exclusive, making room only for one global winner.
It is true that most VoIP providers do not provide interworking with other providers, but not because of protocol reasons, but because they do not provide access via SIP URIs. But I know from my experience with IMS standardisation that cross-entities interworking is even further away in IMS yet.

She comes to this point by herself a bit later:
Although everyone agrees that IMS is the only fitting architecture for next generation communication, inertia is at work when it comes to installing it. It is true that IMS can not be justified on a one-off, self-contained service. This is the reason that early systems were equivalent to IMS-in-a-Box, all in one server. But without the IMS separation of functions, these systems can rarely scale up, or allow for multiple interworking services to be easily deployed.
The rest of the article is again well-balanced, raising some important points such as: that also the walled gardens may not be entirely safe from intrusion, that on the other hand IMS may be better suited for upcoming request by legal entities such as legal intercept and again that end-to-end QoS is a challenge for IMS too.

In her concluding remarks she states:
With the recent success of Internet VoIP, it is hard to see how iVoIP can disappear. The advent of iVoIP has changed the landscape of Communication providers, with new global players - the Internet moguls playing an important part. Their business model, with blends of communication of all types and integration with generic IT and Business systems, provides a solid basis. The spread of iVoIP has a positive effect on IMS roll out.

The threat, as well as the demand created by iVoIP, is now forcing operators to speed up their network transformation, even if it means cannibalising their own revenues. Telcos, including Cable, are not only proceeding with migration to IMS, but are also doubling their chances by offering an Internet Voice service too.

It seems that both iVoIP and IMS will grow side by side, perhaps appealing to different sectors of the market. Different users may choose convenience and reliability (IMS) at a price, rather than ‘free’ but unpredictable service (iVoIP). It is likely that iVoIP will appeal to individuals, while the security and controlled QoS of IMS will suit Business better.
I agree with everything said here, except the last statement. I am not sure if business is willing to pay more all time. They may use IMS as a last resort, but will also want to peer directly, as ECMA stated recently at TISPAN. There is also another problem: how will the local business applications within the LAN and the Internet work together with the walled garden services of IMS, without breaking the security?

And finally I want to re-emphasis: telcos and cablecos MUST NOT put all their eggs in one basket to be taken hostage by the IMS manufacturers, they must provide both services.

The last analysis is from IMS Insider and I first expected it would be somewhat biased, but to my surprise it was also quite well-balanced, but it contains OTOH some very interesting statements, e.g.:
... all the major telco representatives confirmed that ‘managing convergence’ was the key to future competitiveness. All confirmed that they are investing heavily in upgrading their networks to be able to offer IP-based ‘combinational’ services across multiple bearers and devices. And all confirmed that IMS was the key enabler to help them extract more money out of customers through improving the customer experience (through a radical shift to ‘user-centricity’), dramatically reducing ‘time to market’ (working in internet time to launch products and services) and ‘transforming the cost-base’ of a network operation.
Ok, I still have problems with "convergence", I like the statement: 'extract more mony out of the customer', and I do not see reducing dramatically the 'time to market".
A senior Vodafone representative summed up the aim: to move from “Efficient Networks to Cool Services”. To avoid becoming ‘bitpipes’. To also avoid trying to compete head-on with the internet giants. Rather, to leverage their telco skills in networking and connectivity to create a new type of service provider business (and business model) built on IP-based platforms and partnerships with multiple third parties.
They are musing themselves on this:
At present the IMS effort is firmly consigned to the network architect’s office. “Let’s get the boffins to work out how we might be able to do these new, difficult things which we’d rather not think about too much right now!” The boffins advice, of course, is “Just give us 7-10 years to do a thorough job, and we’ll create a beautiful IP-based network. In the meantime, we can trial some new service-types within, of course, carefully controlled environments.”
And then, to my surprise, they are summing up the major concerns with IMS, I could do not better:
There are a number of ‘objections’ to IMS from the commercial functions at operators today:
  • The technology’s not ready yet
  • It’ll never be fully interoperable
  • It’s a flash in the pan
  • It’s just a way for vendors to sell more kit to us
  • It’s going to be much too difficult to make it all work – we don’t have the skills.
  • There’s no real customer demand for ‘combinational’ services.
  • These ‘new services’ are nothing new. We can do them today without IMS!
  • You’ve got more important things to focus on (like growing our revenues in a saturated market)!
Also this statement is nearly true:
The competition, from all sides, is moving fast. Internet companies have 6 week release cycles compared to the 6-12 month release cycles of traditional telcos. It is the way they do business - their flexibility, their speed, their user-friendliness – which, when combined with rapid advances in technology and changes in the regulatory environment, makes them the biggest threat.
What is wrong with this? It is the 6-12 month release cycle. I never saw a telco with a release cycle such fast - it is more in the ballpark of 2 years.

To summarize: A document worth reading - if you have lots of time to spare ;-)

And do not forget: Simplicity usually wins

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Skybaypal - Skype-a-celeb 

Is this what eBay was after?

Skype-a-celeb: talk to Penelope Cruz, Matthew McConaughey and others on Skype

Do you want to talk to Penelope Cruz, Matthew McConaughey and others? Not read about them in some magazine, but actually talk to them live and unmediated? You can now. If you can outbid others for the privilege, that is. Just go to the [skype-a-celeb] auction on eBay and make your bid.

Talk only or video also ;-)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kiwi Views on (De)-Regulation 

Ok, the UK is at least far advanced in de-regulation, very down-under the Kiwi's are still struggling.

Tom Vest brought my attention to this one:
All of the Kiwi network engineers here at the APRICOT technical training program were abuzz this morning about a NZ news (Campell Live) expose broadcast yesterday on the pernicious effects of Telecom New Zealand's overwhelming market power on broadband deployment and Internet development in general.

A few fairly corny gimmicks and analogies were employed along the way, but the segment did a pretty good job of explaining the significance of things like local loop unbundling, contention rates, and infrastructure-based competition for a nontechnical audience.

As an added treat, the 30-min segment ends with a brutal grilling of TNZ chief exec Theresa Gattung, followed by none-too-gentle response from NZ telecom regulator David Cunliffe.
From the webpage:


Broadband and Mobiles…Kiwis pay more for mobile calls than people in Third World countries. Reporter Phil Vine asks if there is competition between Vodafone and Telecom why are our cell phone calls so very expensive. To watch this story click here

And why is our broadband so slow? New Zealand Internet speeds are a joke internationally. Reporter Simon Shepherd looks at what the government is going to do about it and talks to the critics of Telecom about the state of our broadband. To watch this story click here

Plus...John interviews Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung about broadband. To watch this interview click here. And we’re joined live by David Cunliffe, the Minister of Communications & Information technology to talk about how he intends to promote competition and how the government is going to make it better for consumers.

OFCOM on VoIP Regulation and Numbering 

OFCOM is currently firing out tons of paper on VoIP Regulation and also on Telecom Numbering. I have only read yet part of the VoIP Consultation, the piece on PATS, and I ask myself how complicated one can get. This is obviously the result if you try to keep up out-dated laws and definitions up-to-date, putting one weird definition on top of the next, creating more and more baroque definitions. How long can one keep this up until the whole thing topples over?

IMHO a cold reset is required here.

Ofcom yesterday published a consultation on its approach to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

News release: Ofcom sets out approach on VoIP services:

Consultation: Regulation of VoIP Services:

Buying and using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services: Advice for Consumers:

Today Ofcom published its review of the UK National Telephone Numbering Plan, another 200 pages. I have not even started reading yet:

News Release: Ofcom review of UK Telephone Numbering Plan

Consultation: Telephone Numbering - Safeguarding the future of numbers

Ofcom’s proposed future Numbering Plan: Table illustrating Ofcom's proposals

Happy reading!

Friday, February 17, 2006

IPeerX - the Next Pulver Company 

Jeff's launch rate of new companies is increasing exponentionally like everything in context with the Internet and VoIP. Currently the rate is one per month. After Vivox in September, Tello last month, this month it is IPeerX.

In his own words: Out of the Incubator
IPeerX provides VoIP peering services to link IP Communications networks and route calls around the public switched telephone network. At the moment, IPeerX is connected with more than 130 service providers.
As 2006 seems to be the year that VoIP Peering is coming of age, IPeerX is well positioned to take advantage of this.
Since everybody currently is talking about VoIP Peering, IP Interconnect and Infrastructure ENUM, including the IETF (see ENUM and SPEERMINT), Jeff is again, as usual, exactly at the point.

whatPEERever seems to be the buzz word of 2006.

And what will be the company of March 2006, Jeff?

US ENUM Trial Website established 

A sub domain under the the ENUM LLC's web site has been established for US trial specific meeting information and documentation: ENUM US Trial Information

Cultural Differences 

In a recent post I spoke about cultural differences between east and west, but of course there are also minor cultural differences between Europe and the US, e.g. concerning the correct education of children, and also of course between men and women, e.g. concerning relaxation ;-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: ENUM delegation for CC +1 confirmed by ITU-TSB 

As already assumed in my previous post, it took the ITU-TSB only hours (five, to be exact) to confirm the delegation request from CIRA and CC1 ENUM LLC to RIPE NCC regarding CC +1.

BREAKING NEWS: ENUM delegation for CC +1 finally requested from RIPE 

The request for delegation of (CC +1) has finally sent to RIPE NCC today by the Canadian CIRA ENUM Registry (also ACEI - for Canadian political correctness) by Matt Pounsett on behalf of the CC1 ENUM LLC (admin contact is James Baskin).

Since the request has already been sent to ITU-TSB, I assume the approval is only a matter of hours.

I only can hope that the North American ENUM implementation is now finally on track and moving onwards.

Congratulations to all involved.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I am an Infidel 

I am an infidel, although I am a believer. I believe in human rights, and I believe men created god and not god created men.

I feel insulted by the recent activities of some muslims and request an apology.

Muslim fundamendalists are suppressing and executing women, homosexuals, aldulerers, infidels and basically everybody they consider as wrongdoers. Fanatics are blowing up religious art monuments such as the Buddhas from Bamiyan. I therefore request an apology from the governments e.g. of Saudi-Arabia, Palestina, Afganistan, Indonesia, Iran and Egypt. Otherwise I am sorry that I will be forced to beat-up, kidnap and behead their citizens and also will consider blowing up the Kaaba in Mekka.

I also request an apology from the Hamas, the spokesmen of the French muslims and the leaders of the Al-Azhar-University. Otherwise I will call-up to boycott palestinian fruits and set fire to the embassies of Tunesia, Katar and Bangladesh. Because - and I expect understanding here - my feelings are absolute and therefore I have to express them globally.

I see videos showing the beheading of journalists and members of aid and relief organisations,
jews are displayed as cannibals and swines, western woman as decadent prostitutes. Unpolitical technical workers are threatend to death. All in the name of god.

I therefore request that the chief editors of newspapers and TV-stations in the islamic world apologize for not preventing these obscenities.

Of course I do not expect this to happen.

But I expect from the muslims not only to protest, but also to show a way forward, e.g. what they expect us to do to fullfil their requirements. I see three possibilities:

1. The western world is creating separate laws concerning islamic affairs: if somebody e.g. has to kill someone, say his sister, because she has messed up the honour of the familiy, he is not proscuted. This cannot be, otherwise I also request at least to have a decent beer in an islamic country.

2. We take up your behaviour against infidels, but not your religion. This would imply that we would behave against muslims the same way they behave against other religions, e.g. against jews. This would also not be a good idea.

3. We all convert to be muslims. You do not want to take over our way of life, why should we take over yours? Here many of us would have problems, because IMHO your style of life is not an ideal role model, not politically and not econimically. We would loose at least our economic advantage. Is this what you want? Who would enable you to travel all over the world and deliver you videocams, mobile phones and weapons? OTOH, the advantage would be that you would stay in your part of the world and we in ours, albeit we BOTH would be poorer.

All of the above does not work, so please elaborate.

And please save me from explanations such as that the Koran is completely different and misinterpreded, e.g. there is nothing in the Koran stating that you should not make a picture of the prophet.

I do not care what the Koran says, explain this to your fellow muslims.

I only care how you are behaving, personally, as an individual. Nobody is responsible for the behaviour of somebody else, only for his own. And this is tough enough.

The evil is the faith to know what the good is.

NGN and Customer Value 

Last week I participated in the ETSI TISPAN Plenary #10, taking place in Sophia Antipolis near Antibes in France. After celebrating the (in)completion of TISPAN NGN Release 1 end of last year, TISPAN is heading now under the new chairman Rainer Muench full steam for Release 2.

So what can be expected from TISPAN NGN Release 2? The operators made this quite clear: Tele Danmark, British Telecom, TeleSonera, Telecom Italia, Swisscom, Telenor, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom presented a joint paper (10TD218) proposing an initial list of high priority items for TISPAN NGN Release 2:
  • items postponed from Release 1
  • capabilities to enhance Release 1
  • new network capabilities in support of new services and applications
Additions to this list should be limited to those absolutely necessary that the work to be carried in 2006 can be properly planned to enable deadlines for delivering Release 2.

The major points are: user equipment, PSTN/ISDN simulation, support of IN services (INAP, CAMEL), 3G Profile A, SIP-I Profiles B and C, simulation services (CW, ACR, AoC, CCBS, MCID, ...), localized and global mobility management, IPTV and VoD, PtT, SMS, MMS, support for corporate networks, IP PBX, Centrex, Overload and Congestion Control, Admission Control in RACS to handle QoS over core, expand IP-CAN for other access networks than xDSL (3G RAN, WLAN, Cable networks), define procedures for roaming and handover, NGN roaming for WLAN scenarios, IPv6, NAT traversal, Presence, IM, UPSF/HSS data, PSTN/ISDN Emulation, QoS, Policing and Congestion Control, etc. etc. etc

I counted approx. 60 (sixty) such high priority items. Don't ask me about the low priority items.

I cannot imagine half of this to be done within two years, and then the question still exists if all this stuff will work and interwork.

Since I was reading at the same time Geoff Hustons article about Convergence?, I was asking if TISPAN is considering what the customer wants. No customers are present in standard bodies. The operators say that they are of course taking the customer needs also into account. How well they are doing this shows history: e.g. ISDN, IN, ATM (and IMS?). So the basic question is: is a standards body capable at all to define services? Or should this be left to the application providers?

The problem here is that one should not implement what the customer wants, but what he values = what he wants to pay for. Best example: a customer wants QoS, but he is not willing to pay for QoS, at least not if he gets reasonable QoS 99% of the time with best effort. And one cannot live on the 1% overflow traffic.

It is not quite true that there where no customers present at TISPAN: there was ECMA, explaining their need for the NGCN (Next Generation Corporate Networks). Their presentation (10TD190) was quite telling: of course it was basically a letter to Santa Claus, but in essence what they wanted was to be connected to the NGN of the operators, but only as a last resort. They want of course to interconnect within their corporations and also between corporations directly, via leased lines or via the Internet. Rich Shockey showed in his presentations already that this is about 80% of the traffic. If the NGN now can make a living out of this 20% overflow?

There is also another problem lurking nobody is yet really looking at: the NGNs are also marketing their network as more secure (e.g. no spam, no viruses - Note: yesterday I saw a message that 50% of MMS messages contain viruses - so much for security). This implies that the NGN service is connected to the CPE or corporate LAN via a VPN. But this also implies that there is NO connection to the applications running at the LAN (e.g. Outlook or corporate databases) and also NO connection to the Internet. Since a normal end-user and also most companies are connected to the Internet, you either bridge this at the customers LAN (and then you have access from the Internet into the NGN) or you prevent this, then there is no interworking possible.

This is NOT what customers want.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

ETP on NGN (Detailed Comments) 

Some time ago I posted that the European Telecommunications Platform (ETP) published a paper On the technology, business models and regulatory aspects of NGN.

The ETP is a consultative body which was formed in Brussels on 4th February 1998, following the opening of the European telecommunications market on 1st January of that year and consists basically of the European operators and their manufacturers.

The goals of the ETP are to promote self-regulation by the industry, encourage the ongoing development of competition and clarify operational and strategic business issues.

The published document on NGN analyses the Next Generations Networks along these lines, and although I do not completely agree with every detail, I consider this paper as a very valuable input to the current discussion within Europe regarding an update of the New Regulatory Framework and the current market definitions.

Considering the composition of the group, the document is generally pointing in the right direction, but sometimes one gets the impression that no consensus was achieved to take the last obvious step in deriving the final conclusions. So the group seemingly could not jump completely over their own shadow.

My major points of critique are:
  1. There is the intrinsic assumption that the NGN is NOT the Internet.
  2. Although all over the document the openness for a variety of innovative services is mentioned, there is also all over the document the idea about service control.
In more detail:

Since there is no common definition of the term Next Generation Network, ETP has adopted the ITU-T definition as a starting point:

ITU-T defines NGN as a packet-based architecture fostering the provisioning of new/emerging services through a loosely coupled, open and converged communications infrastructure.

As I have already pointed out extensivly in my posts reporting from the joint ITU-T/IETF workshop in May 2005 and WTF is NGN, this ITU-T definition is nice, as long as you do not look closely what ITU-T SGs are making of this in detail, and the IETF view is completely different.

The basis for the bright future of a plethora of converged services is the emerging next generation network. This will consist of:

• various next generation access networks, which will allow true platform competition,
• global next generation core networks with nearly unlimited bandwidth in the backbone and
• next generation service control, which will provide the framework for intelligent and convergent service creation

I have no problem with the first two points, but a serious problem with the last within the NGN environment.

The demands for real world implementations are clearly and correctly recognized:

Operators worldwide are striving to deploy new solutions that can adequately address the demands being placed on them by market and by technological developments:

Demands from businesses for:
  • Integrated data, voice, and video
  • Ubiquitously available electronic communications services with high speeds and media flexibility
  • Flexible Virtual Private Network (VPN) solutions
  • More innovative services and network intelligence—security, storage, application layer routing, and adaptability—to support the trend in enterprise markets toward better integration of their networking and information systems
Demands from consumers and governments for:
  • Broadband access to every home
  • Business-class telecommuting: High-performance, highly available, and secure to support the growing population of telecommuters who work from home or abroad
  • Attractive pricing bundles for data, voice, and video services, with both wireline and wireless access methods
  • User-friendly network and information security
  • On-demand multi-media services
Demands from investors include:
• Increased revenue
• Improved profitability
• Broader service areas
• Greater productivity

It is also recognized that the most important challenge for service providers in addressing these demands by using their existing solutions is:
  • Offering data, voice, and video services over complex collections of service-specific networks that are costly to operate and unable to deliver the flexible, integrated services demanded by the market
  • Deploying a broad range of access methods and protocols that are better suited to providing connectivity and differentiated, profitable services than today’s access methods
and that there exists the vision of one network for all services that delivers:
  • The mobility of wireless networks with ubiquitous accessibility to services
  • The reliability of the public switched telephone network (PSTN)
  • The speed of innovation of IP technology and applications
  • The security and service isolation of private lines
  • The operational efficiency and cost reduction of a common, consistent infrastructure
  • Greater speed to market for a much greater variety of services
Note the emphasis on speed, cost reduction and of course security and reliability.

And the we have the famous NGN funcional entities Access, Core and Service Provision/Control

Now I do not have any problems with Access and Core, but I have a problem with Service Control and Provision. And in addition, what is this little Application on top?

I am just fine with Access, Core and Application. BTW, nobody has ever clearly defined what a Service is. And what about Do-It-Yourself Service Provisioning?

... and it is immediately mentioned in the document:

... Finally, the management and provision of services needs to evolve to a next generation service control capable in providing features such as Identity Management, Policy Management, Mobility Management, Dynamic Session Management – allowing the operators to provide personalized services on a per user basis and develop innovative services.

I agree that this "services" are required, but I may not need an operator to provide these services (and I also doubt that operators are capable of developing these and other innovative services, there are others already well on their way).

The document now discusses the Core:

The migration to IP networks provides operators with sufficient flexibility in their cost base to reduce both Operational Expenditure (OPEX) and Capital Expenditure (CAPEX)

... and the Access quite correctly:

Enduring competition, the main goal of EU Information Society policy, can be fostered only by developing access competition and can thus only be achieved by establishing multiple access infrastructures. ...

The next generation access infrastructure and the edge technology will be digital and it should support the whole range of services including speech, video and internet access.

Fixed, cable and cellular operators today have the technological means to upgrade or build access networks with a large digital bitpipe allowing the delivery of triple play services.

Provided regulators can establish a favourable environment this will lead to true infrastructure competition and vanishing of access bottlenecks.

and then we come back again to NGN Service Control:

It starts quite well:

In a next generation environment services will no longer be restricted to voice and internet access. Convergence of media, computing and communications will lead to a wide variety of services, which add value for the user and the community. Although the technological basis for this evolution is here, the business case still needs to be explored. In this situation it is paramount to deliver services quickly and efficiently. This is not a new prerequisite. In the telecommunications industry the concept of an intelligent network was elaborated in the 1990s in order to centralize the service logic of the PSTN/ISDN. Although number translation services for freephone and value-add services rely on intelligent networks the further evolution is rather limited.

Ok, self critique is always good, but what is the conclusion? Now comes a paragraph where I have some problems in agreeing:

The Internet has achieved an independent "service logic" through the hourglass model, which decouples the infrastructure from applications. [not Service Control] The Internet, however, has grown from a scientific background and relies on trust, which cannot be assumed throughout today's environment. The public Internet allows easy deployment of services but lacks basic security features and digital rights management for access control which should be expected from a global telecommunications network as a basis for sound business cases.

Hold on:
  1. The Internet is End-to-End, and so is security on the Internet. And this can be achieved and is achieved now.
  2. I would like to have all the money earned currently on the Internet with sound business cases. The Internet is currently used by many businesses as a global communications network already.
Next comes a list of items needed in the service environment, which also contains QoS mechanisms.


In service control? QoS is basically a function of Core (although some say there is no QoS problem at all) and primarily in the Access.

The next statement is interesting in this context:

In order to fulfil these requirements the next generation service control will be functionally independent from the network layer and from the access. The converged next generation core network needs to become a reliable basis for the quickly evolving services, which should be accessible from all kinds of access.

Agreed, but ff it should be functionally independent, how is the QoS controlled?

The next statement is provocative (for me to give a nasty answer):

The service layer itself should provide a framework for service creation. Today the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) is seen as the future concept of a service creation environment. IMS has been developed by the mobile industry. ITU and ETSI-TISPAN have adopted the IMS specification and adapted them to a fixed network environment. Standardisation of service environment is necessary to allow for interoperable services and for the benefits of a mass market.

Sitting currently in a hotel room in Sophia Antipolis exhausted after the TISPAN mid-plenary, I am unable to give a fair statement to this one. No comment, but my position regarding IMS is well known by the readers of this blog ;-)

A bit later these Service Control issue is somehow relativated (is it?):

Next generation service control might be developed functionally separated or fully integrated with the infrastructure (next generation access and next generation core).

Next generation service control needs to be accessed through the core network by the customer premises equipment.

So direct access by the user transparently through Access and Core:

Although the access and the core are seen as technologically transparent for services certain restrictions from a business point of view might apply.

Aha, one step forward, and immediately rowing back? I can imagine the discussions on this paragraph and the adding of the last sentence :-)

The next part of the document deals with the regulatory implications:

The vision of "one network - many services" underlines the necessity and explicitly forces to arrive at a technology neutral approach. Although vertical integrated business models might remain among others, the boundary between network and services needs to be reflected in the regulatory approach.

A clear statement to re-consider the current EU framework and the market definitions

The paper does not try to educate and give food for thought to the regulators like GSMA, but only hints on challenges ;-)

e.g. on Legal Intercept:

Lawful interception becomes more problematical if, in addition to delivering a service (e.g. VoIP), also pure connectivity is delivered by an operator as the traffic moves from the core to the access. Packets may take different routes and the only feasible way to intercept communications may be in the access network.

Access to emergency services and Universal service.

About economic regulation:

The technologies for a next generation network are available and mature. The business and investment models in the telecommunications industry are not.

I even doubt the first statement. Definitely the second ist correct.

The regulatory framework has moved from four markets to a more fragmented approach by defining 18 service markets which apply to all 25 Member States. The process of refining the markets, establishing if working competition exists and defining regulatory measures is still not completed. It however has turned out that the potential for deregulation has hardly been used.

The markets according to Commission Recommendation 2003/311/EC as well as the remedies are very much connected to legacy infrastructure and services and do not sufficiently take into account the picture of a next generation network painted in chapter 3. To what extent, NGN services fit into existing markets or will generate new unregulated markets is not evident today. Some players might provide integrated solutions including access, core and services. Others might provide services only. These services will increasingly resemble network enabled software applications. NGN itself is not a market. NGN services will lead to new markets and changing market structures. The framework should not restrict this process. However there is a tradeoff with the need for regulatory certainty and the need to avoid foreclosing competition in the future.

This clearly indicates that the EU framework and the market definitions need extensive rework for NGN.

And finally also this paper contains 10 points for a new regulatory environment (why always 10? ;-)

The new regulatory environment ...

• should be based on technology- and provider-neutral regulatory criteria:
Regulatory asymmetry leads to competitive asymmetry and creates the incentive and the opportunity for artificial competition, which is not based on market demands. It is of utmost importance to find a proper and workable definition of technological neutrality.

must be based on legal principles drawn largely from competition law:
Current and likely marketplace developments demand a statutory structure, which makes regulation dependent upon a finding of lack of effective competition. Although reliance on competition law is a long term goal, ex-ante regulation is likely to be needed for some time if some foreclosure of markets occur, which can not be solved with other instruments.

• non-economic regulation should be hands-off regulation:
The societal regulatory regime ought to pursue a regulatory hands-off approach with as light a touch as possible. This hands-off approach should not only apply to the European level but also to the national level. However, harmonisation on a European level (e.g. regarding EMC or terminal equipment) remains necessary to gain the benefits from a European market and to achieve user protection.

• economic regulation (if required) should focus on enduring bottlenecks:
Although it would be desirable eventually to base economic regulation entirely on competition law, it might be necessary to deal with network bottlenecks while they still exist. These bottlenecks are likely but not exclusively to be found in the access network.

• should allow for innovation and investment:
There needs to be a favourable regulatory environment for investment and innovation in Next Generation Networks. This is a necessary precondition for the achievement of the goals set in i2010, which was announced by the Commission on 1 June, 2005. It promotes an open and competitive digital economy and emphasises ICT as a driver of inclusion and quality of life. NGN can become a means to achieve the policy goals of the Commission.

• should provide legal certainty:
For investment in telecommunications legal certainty is a necessary prerequisite. The current
regulatory framework does not provide this certainty (e.g. the definitions of PATS and ECS do not reflect some technological evolutions).

• should focus on services not on technology:
Every asymmetry in technology triggered by regulation can potentially distort the market. Therefore technology decisions should be left to the market. Regulators should not interfere by one or the other technology. It is therefore necessary to define the boundary between technology and service. The Next Generation Core itself falls out of the regulatory scope. It is the services that are subject to possible regulation.

should avoid fragmentation of markets:
A common market allows the competitive provision of services and products. Fragmentation could endanger the position of the European industry and operators and has therefore to be avoided. NGN interconnection will be based on standards voluntarily agreed upon by industry in standards bodies. That does not imply that standards need to be imposed.

• should balance harmonisation and innovation:
Harmonisation is certainly necessary to avoid fragmentation and to allow for interoperability of services. It has however to be recognized that harmonisation in an early stage could stifle innovation by favouring a possibly suboptimal solution. Priority should be given to market forceswhich will lead to harmonised solutions at the right time. This is probably different for different layers. Innovation at service level is much more important.

• should address the question of cross-border services:
In a next generation network the possibility for cross-border services exists. It has to be assured that national operators are no worse off than competitors from abroad. Therefore the EU should try to accede to agreements with other parts of the world. NGN has a global focus. That's the reason for global standards.

The new regulatory environment should rely on market forces and competition. Non-economic regulatory goals should be pursued with as light a regulatory touch as possible. In that way next generation networks will significantly contribute to the political goals set out in i2010.

To summarize: a document worth reading.

SPEERMINT Charter Published 

I already posted about the creation of IETF WG SPEERMINT, now the SPEERMINT charter made it officially to the IETF website into the new Real-Time Applications and Infrastructure Area.

For convenience, I post here the charte: the chairs, description of workgroup (scope) and the goals and milestones:

Session PEERing for Multimedia INTerconnect (speermint)

Current Status: Acting Working Group

Dave Meyer
Jason Livingood

Real-time Applications and Infrastruture Area Directors

Real-time Applications and Infrastructure Area Advisor:
Allison Mankin

Mailing Lists:
General Discussion:
To Subscribe:
In Body: (un)subscribe

Description of Working Group:

The term "VoIP Peering" has historically been used to describe inter-provider network interconnect and the delivery of voice calls over interconnection points. While voice calls are the primary motivation for this today, other forms of real-time communications are and will continue to evolve as natural additions to such peering. Therefore, the focus of this working group is best generalized to describe calls as sessions, and to note that that such communications are inherently real-time in nature.

SPEERMINT focuses architectures to identify, signal, and route delay-sensitive (real-time) communication sessions. These sessions use the SIP signaling protocol to enable peering between two or more administrative domains over IP networks. Where these domains peer, or meet, the establishment of trust, security, and a resistance to abuse and attack are all important considerations.

Note that the term "peering" is used here to refer to the interconnection between application layer entities such as SIP servers, as opposed to interconnection at the IP network layer. However, in order to achieve real-time Session PEERing, both signaling and media flows must be taken into consideration. In addition, the working group recognizes that there will be use cases that require SPEERMINT to focus on the interaction between the application layer and lower network layers, or the dependence of specific application layer use cases on lower layers, so SPEERMINT will have to be prepared to solve these problems as they arise.

More specifically, SPEERMINT focuses on real-time session routing architectures and their associated use cases. Deliverables here include the specification of the various types of application flows, such as signaling and media flows, in such networks, and includes both trunking and peer-to-peer flows. In addition, SPEERMINT considers and documents requirements for the feedback of operational conditions (e.g., congestion control) that enables the application of dynamic policy and recognizes that various mechanisms for achieving this should be studied as a potential part of any architecture. In future, as its initial work completes and the requirements become known, SPEERMINT may seek rechartering to consider various mechanism to support applying Quality of Service and/or traffic engineering mechanisms in an architecturally sound way in support of real-time Session PEERing. A charter discussion would consider how to work with with mechanisms developed by other working groups, selecting and integrating those, but as stated, first the initial milestones must be completed.

The most focused deliverables of SPEERMINT are best current practices regarding exchange of real-time sessions among VoIP and other real-time application service providers and, in particular, how such calls are routed. SPEERMINT will recognize that some of these
providers also control underlying access networks (facilities-based), while others do not (not facilities-based), and this fact may present various additional requirements or use cases for consideration. The working group will develop one or more use case documents to record the varieties of the practices, as well as use this recognition as a guide to maintaining the greatest possible separation of the application layer from lower layers.

The SPEERMINT work plan is related to and distinct from the work plans of the ENUM and SIPPING working groups. While the the ENUM Working Group is primarily concerned with the structure and lookup of data for the translation of E.164 numbers into URIs (RFC3761), SPEERMINT is concerned with the use of the resulting URI data, as well as non-ENUM-derived URI data, for use in signaling and routing of real-time sessions. The SIPPING WG produced the original document in this area (RFC 3824). The future work in this area will be produced by SPEERMINT, but RFC 3427, the SIP change process will be followed as needed.

Issues that are out of scope for SPEERMINT include:

  • Interoperability, and NITS/profiling of existing protocols such as SIP, RTP, and SRTP,
  • SPIT prevention. Note, however, that other working groups may release relevant specifications that become required or are referenced by various SPEERMINT uses cases and BCPs,
  • Routing of sessions which are not signaled using SIP. In particular, SPEERMINT is constrained to consider only those scenarios in which call routing is signaled using the SIP protocol and addressed by SIP or SIPS URIs. E.164 numbers and other national or private formats may only be used as defined within the SIP protocols, and
  • H.323

In the goals and milestones, "submit" means to submit the document to the IESG for publication.


Goals and Milestones:

Jul 2006 Submit SPEERMINT terminology I-D (Informational).

Sept 2006 Submit I-D defining the SPEERMINT routing architecture (Informational).

Dec 2006 Submit I-D defining the message flows associated with the SPEERMINT routing architecture (Informational).

Jan 2007 Submit I-D on the use of DNS SRV and NAPTR records as specified by RFC 3263 (BCP).

Mar 2007 Submit I-D on the minimum set of requirements for SIP-based VoIP interconnection (BCP).

July 2007 Submit I-D specifying the use of strong identities in session peering and supporting the establishment and exchange of trust between domains (BCP).

Jul 2007 Submit I-D(s) on use cases (BCP).

Jul 2007 Propose re-chartering for any additional efforts/considerations, or propose conclusion of working group (following approval of last documents)

Geoff Huston: Forget about Convergence 

Sitting currently in the ETSI TISPAN mid-plenary discussing the future direction of IMS over fixed networks, I started drifting away and reading some articles on my stack and came over Geoff Hustons: Convergence? and one paragraph catched my eyes:

The effort to arm networks with complex quality and service manipulation capabilities in the guise of NGNs and QoS networks appears to be a step in precisely the opposite direction to what customers demonstrably want from networks.

Hah, a wake-up call for TISPAN!?

The article starts with:

If there is one word in the telecommunications that has suffered from over-abuse for many years now, its convergence.

I fully agree.

Voice over IP is certainly the most prevalent conversation within the industry at present. While voice continues to play the role of mainstay of the telco industry, the signs of further disruption to this model are certainly evident. From an Internet perspective voice is a small volume and relatively undemanding UDP application. Call signalling is just a rendezvous application, commonly implemented as an XML application. When combined with the DNS as a line database, and tied into the regular E.164 PSTN numbering plant via ENUM, then all of the critical components of VOIP are defined. VOIP, as a service platform , is both completely functionally compatible with traditional telephony and also poses the greatest risk to the future viability of traditional telephony. It is now largely a matter of the regulatory sector defining the timeline for VOIP adoption, and with that adoption mass market voice services will once more be the subject of further price pressures. If VOIP is priced in a manner consistent with the cost of supporting this application within the larger network, then voice will cease to be the backbone application of the industry.

So why TISPAN and 3GPP making it so complicated?

Some Telco operators just presented a HIGH-PRIORITY wishlist (10TD218 for insiders) here for TISPAN Release 2 which IMHO will keep TISPAN busy for at least 4 years, not to mention the mid and low priority items.

There is no next vertical killer application coming, and it certainly isn’t going to be just VOIP.

We are seeing a new suite of application components in the form of XML, Ajax, RSS, Torrents, Podcasts and similar, and methods of constructing content in previously undreamt of methods. Many of the more captivating services are now in the form of overlay applications, such as Skype for voice or Google’s Gmail for mail . The common factor here is that these services do not use dedicated network infrastructure, but exist as application level overlays. Its clear in this that user’s perception of where the value lies is shifting to the application rather than remaining with the network’s access infrastructure. This value shift is not coalescing within a single application, however. What is evident is that the application space is now an area of intense innovation, and we are seeing diversification in this space, rather than convergence. The richness of structured data sets and their potential to create innovative services is an obvious outcome of this application level activity.

and Geoff concludes:

Perhaps its time to forget about convergence, and instead look at what it takes to survive as a carrier ISP in today’s deregulated, competitive, unconverged world. Certainly one of the more important principles is to stop attempting to add value to the network by spending large amounts of effort in providing a panoply of services that customers simply don’t want and don’t value. It would appear that what customers want today is for packet carriers to stick to the basics - keep overheads low and operate a network that is simple, stable, fast and cheap. User value construction is happening at the edge of the network through overlay structures, and the major attribute of networks today is not convergence per se, but the ability to open the network’s edge up for competitive innovation.

It appears that vertically integrated service providers are fading away, and convergence is fading away with it. The deregulated service industry continues to specialize rather than generalize. Valued service delivery is increasingly based on overlay systems that treat the network as a simple packet transmission service. The harsh lesson here is that the converged Utopia of the old world carrier industry is now no more than a piece of nostalgic mythology. And a rather dull and uninteresting one at that. The unconverged service world of layered applications is vibrant, innovative, exciting and very much alive . And maybe that’s a very good thing.

Vive la différence!

Thank you Geoff for this article

GSMA Educating the Regulators 

In Ten Lessons How To Regulate Tomorrow's Mobile Market, the GSM Association is giving the regulators of the world the following advice (as food for thought and of course approved by the GSMA Regulatory Advisory Panel):

Instead, given the innovative nature of 3GSM, it's embryonic status and the current lack of market and legal certainty, regulatory forbearance is advisable.

Hey, I like this: if 3GSM is embryonic, what is VoIP then? (in Viennese: a Lercherlschaas)

The food for thought in detail (not very much aha for the regulators, as far as I know them ;-)

1. Regulators should continue to seek a balance between the benefits and costs of intervention, on the one hand, and regulatory forbearance, on the other.

An overly interventionist approach, which could lead to short-term benefits, could potentially stifle a dynamic market process with inevitable and adverse competitive, economic and even social consequences on the longer term. In general, competition is deemed to be a better approach to economic efficiency than regulation, and the regulators must encourage sustainable competition for the long term.

2. Regulation should be based on clearly defined goals and policy objectives and should be kept to the minimum necessary to meet these objectives.

Once effective competition is established or there is a reasonable prospect of a effectively competitive market in the near term, regulatory forbearance should prevail (with competition law providing appropriate safeguards).

3. Regulators should acknowledge that 'normal' competitive markets reflect a range of operator return and should not intervene in competitive markets where one or more operators' return appears to be above the 'norm'.

In the mobile market, the reality is that some operators have made good returns (on invested capital), while others have not. This situation is not of itself a cause to regulate away 'excess profits'. If a regulator judges from the highest standard, and regulates accordingly, then the less performing companies will unavoidably hit, thus further reducing already inadequate returns and threatening long term competitive development.

4. Regulation should fit (reflect) the market situation and balance the micro and macro views.

For example, when in certain cases mobile termination or roaming charges may appear high to regulators in certain countries, these cannot be judged in isolation.

5. Regulators should be publicly accountable and act in a transparent way.

Regulatory intervention should only be imposed after an appropriate public consultation process, which in most cases, will include market definition and assessment and a further assessment as to the appropriate regulatory remedy. A full right of appeal both on grounds of law (substance) and procedure (process) is an essential element of the checks and balances, which are necessary between operators and regulators.

6. Governments should adopt licensing practices that encourage new investments in telecommunication infrastructures and facilitate competition within the sector.

Un-harmonized license award procedures together with varying license conditions/obligations may lead to varying investment incentives in national markets and may eventually give rise to some discrepancy with respect to the levels of mobile service developments. Licensing policies and procedures must be applied judiciously] since not only they can influence market entry but also the post-entry conditions affecting competitiveness and market development. For auctions to contribute positively to economic welfare, they must meet a set of stringent preconditions (all potential bidders must be fully informed as to any Government imposed terms and conditions, including fees and changes to fees). When designing auctions, policy-makers should seek to achieve efficient resource allocation rather than primarily aiming to raise surplus government revenue. High license fees in some developed countries may constrain the ability of operators to invest in developing countries.

7. Spectrum should be allocated on the basis of achieving economically efficient, competitive and structurally desirable outcomes rather than to extract monopoly rents from the industry.

If the market is the best allocator of scarce resources, as most economists would argue, it is important that countries should be able to develop their own spectrum trading arrangements. In principle, regulators should allow for secondary trading of spectrum within planned internationally frequency allocations, after a thorough consultation process with the industry (i.e. mobile operators) evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of spectrum trading.

8. The feasibility and commercial desirability of sharing of facilities and infrastructure is a matter, which is operator and market specific.

In certain circumstances, sharing can be beneficial by, for instance, driving efficiencies through accelerated network rollout, the potential elimination of unnecessary cost duplication and the minimization of certain adverse environmental impacts. Accordingly, regulators should enable commercial negotiations on facility sharing among mobile operators to proceed subject however to license conditions not prohibiting the proposed form of sharing and competition not being materially and adversely impacted by the proposed form of sharing.

9. Restrictions on the deployment of mobile networks should be based on science and substantiated studies, and not in response to 'public concern' which is without scientific basis.

10. Adequate consumer safeguards against the inappropriate use of customer data are in place in most countries.

In overseeing the implementation of those safeguards, regulators should balance the interests of consumers to data privacy, on the one hand, and timely and easy access to services and information on the other. Further, regulators should look first to relevant self-regulatory industry initiatives to achieve those objectives.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What you always wanted to know about VoIP 

The Austrian Regulator (RTR) published a very comprehensive book on VoIP (~170 pages). This is the good news. The bad news for most of my readers is: it is in German.

Schriftenreihe der RTR-Gmbh: Voice over IP - Grundlagen, Regulierung und erste Erfahrungen

Vom Umfang her könnte man es auch "VoIP: Aufzucht und Hege" nennen.

Of course I have not read it yet, but from the contents it seems to cover a lot ;-)

Monday, February 06, 2006

FON raises 22$ million from Skype, Google, etc. 

FON has just raised $22 million from Index, Sequoia, Skype and Google. FON is trying to create a ubiquitous global shared WiFi network, by encouraging broadband subscribers to share their connections with others.

They have two models:

  • Be a "Linus" and share your connection freely with others. Other Linus’ can also use your connection for free.
  • Be a "Bill" and charge for your connection. You must then pay to use others connections when you use them. But, you pay substantially less than the $6/hour that the big hotspot providers charge today.

There is a lot of comments on the blogosphere on this, so I do not need to comment on this further by myself, just read, e.g.:

Om Malik: Google, Skype Fund FON
Andy: Skype Google Sequia Back wifi FON
Alec Saunders: FON Raises $22 Million
Martin Varsavky himself: A dream come true
pointing to others writing about FON Rebeca Mackinnon , Dan Gilmor , Ejovi Nuwere , Ethan Zuckerman ,Wendy Seltzer

And last but not least it is of course very interesting what Skype (Niklas and Jaanus) thinks about this dream...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

QoS Not an Issue Anymore in NGN? 

From the ITU-T Strategy and Policy Unit Newlog:
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation document on the impact of transition to NGNs (also see press release). TRAI will be conducting open house discussions in Delhi and Bangalore on the NGN consultation paper as well as the recent consultation on convergence and competition.
In reading it diagonally, I came across an interesting comment regarding QoS:
QoS obligations on VoIP are becoming an exception i.e. many regulators are going for forbearance on this. The general view is that consumers are best judges of quality. Also, in the long-term, due to technological development in IP, the QOS is not going to remain an issue any more.
I fully agree, but if QoS is not an issue anymore for NGN, what is?

IMS Crucial for Cable VoIP?!? 

Up to now the only group not infected by the S4 Syndrome and IMS Mania was the cable operators. Of course manufacturers do not like this. But there is also other groups making money out of IMS: the consultants and conference organizers. So IDC, being active in both areas, cannot stand this.

In their press release on February 1st they are blaming of course the manufacturers: Softswitch Vendors Hope to Ride Cable Companies Straight to the Winners Circle, IDC Says, but basically they are trying to sell you their report Softswitch Suppliers: The Battle for VoIP (and IMS) in the Cable Market for $2500, with the following arguments:
After sauntering out of the gate, cable companies are finally ready to hit stride as they race toward VoIP and associated next-generation services, unencumbered by the back-breaking weight of legacy-based TDM networks. This 'run for the roses' presents tremendous opportunity for softswitch suppliers that recognize the cable market as one of the most important segments for VoIP-based softswitch sales.

So the benefits is with the softswitch suppliers.

According to IDC, the U.S. market for cable-based VoIP will grow from 2.2 million subscribers in 2005 to 19.8 million by 2009. However, to truly compete with incumbent carriers, cable operators must extend bundled offerings that will allow them to provide voice, mobile voice, and multimedia capabilities. "Convergence has created some fierce competition between cable companies and ILECS as both strive to capitalize on the opportunities presented by triple play and quadruple play," said Tom Valovic, program director of IDC's VoIP Infrastructure service.

This is nice: a market of 19,8 million only in 2009? Nebbich.

BTW, Skype has already >70 million subscribers now and may have > 250 million in 2009. And with whom the cable operators will have to compete according to IDC: with the incumbents!

But it gets even more funny:

The rapidly evolving PacketCable architecture and standard, developed by CableLabs, is at the heart of these efforts. However, one potential obstacle that threatens to slow down cable companies is the emergence of IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), a rapidly advancing standard slated for the development of SIP-based multimedia services. If cable companies can't overcome potential IMS hurdles, which include meshing the standard with PacketCable specs to take full advantage of the multimedia capabilities offered by SIP, they may find themselves behind the IMS power curve over the next 2-3 years. On a more positive note, progress in this area will bring with it some distinct advantages. "Over the long term, if PacketCable successfully adopts IMS, this will open up the market to a broader range of softswitch and call session control function (CSCF) providers," said Valovic.

The IMS power curve! I personally have not seen any feature that Skype and other VoIP providers using SIP already have implemeted now implemented in IMS yet. They have plans to start implementing this within the next two or three years or so. Can you imagine how far advanced Skype, VoipBuster, Tello, iotum, et. al will be then?

Some more fun can be found in the VoIP Magazine:

The adoption of IMS as part of the PacketCable standard will help cable operators in another way, Valovic adds. Optimizing softswitching equipment for cable currently is challenging, and only a handful of manufacturers do it well, including Cisco, Nortel, and Siemens, as well as second-tier vendors Cedar Point and Nuera, he observes.

But when standardization on IMS becomes mandatory, it will make it easier for other manufacturers to compete, he says. And that will drive down the price of equipment.

So currently the price is high!

One little example: take the latest must have gadget Nabaztag - the French Smart Rabbit. Skypeteer has a connection to Pamela aready and is working on integrating this fully into Skype.

Can one imagine such a fast reaction if you are using IMS. No way.

What did Francis Ford Coppola say recently at the Management and Consulting Congress com.sult this week in Vienna:

Listen well to the consulants and then do the opposite.

Friday, February 03, 2006


And the other good news from today posted on the SPEERMINT exploder:


The IESG ok'ed the speermint charter yesterday, with
Jason and me as the co-chairs. So we're ready to
go. I'll request a slot for Dallas, and I would like all
of you to submit proposed agenda items to Jason and me.

We'd also like to thank Allison Mankin for all of her
support in shepherding us through the process, and Jon
Peterson for his support in getting the WG chartered.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Dallas.

Dave & Jason

Congratulations to the co-chairs.

US ENUM Trial Launches February 21 

The following message from Karen Mulberry (Verizon!) went minutes ago over the CC1 ENUM LLC Exploder:

Press Release Source: Country Code 1 ENUM LLC

US ENUM Trial Launches February 21
Friday February 3, 11:33 am ET

Companies Interested in Participating in the Trial Should Plan on Attending This Meeting

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 3, 2006--The Country Code 1 ENUM LLC (LLC) today announced the formation of a committee to coordinate testing activities among participants in its upcoming US ENUM trial. The first meeting of this committee, to be known as the LLC's Trial Participants Advisory Committee (TPAC), will take place in Richardson, Texas, on February 21, 2006. Companies who have an interest in participating in the trial should plan on attending this meeting. Meeting details will be posted on the LLC's web site (

The US ENUM trial will be based on the ENUM Forum's "Framework Document for a US/CC1 ENUM Trials Program," which can be found at The U.S. trial is expected to be conducted over a six-month period beginning in March.

Companies wishing to participate can fulfill one or more of the defined roles for the trial: Tier 1B Registry, Tier 2 Nameserver Provider, Registrar, Authorization Agency, Host Carrier, Application Service Provider, and User Registrant. Companies choosing to participate are responsible for their own costs and will be expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the CC1 ENUM LLC, which will be available on the LLC's web site ( Several telecommunications and Internet companies have already indicated an interest in participating.

ENUM is a technology that allows users to combine the resources of the Internet with traditional telephony, uniting these two diverse worlds of communications and enabling a whole new range of communication applications. The ENUM system effectively enables individuals, businesses and other organizations to maximize the use of both the public Internet and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) by associating telephone numbers with Internet domain names. As a result, phone numbers can be used to send traditional telephony services like voice calls or faxes which can be converted to packets for delivery to a variety of devices.

On December 1, 2005, the U.S. government requested the temporary delegation of country code 1 to support an ENUM trial. That request was also supported in letters from the Canadian and Jamaican governments. Confirmation of the delegation is expected in mid-February, with the US ENUM trial expected to start in early March. During the next year, other NANP member countries may conduct national ENUM trials as well.

The TPAC will coordinate the various trial activities and report the results of the trial to the LLC, which will publish the results and report them to various governmental agencies that have been following the industry's efforts toward ENUM implementation. The TPAC will be chaired by a Project Executive to be contracted for and selected by the LLC.

Additional details and registration information for the meeting on February 21 will be posted on the LLC's web site.

About Country Code 1 ENUM LLC

The founding companies of Country Code 1 ENUM LLC are seeking to build a commercial implementation consistent with the relevant open standards of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) upon which ENUM is based. The new company will help to implement a single, public ENUM system for those nations within the NANP that choose to participate. The North American implementation of ENUM will adhere to national and industry privacy requirements.

Country Code 1 ENUM LLC will manage the public infrastructure that translates traditional telephone numbers into Internet domain names, combining the reach and capabilities of the Internet with the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to enable new communications capabilities.

Strategic Advantage, Inc.
Dale Jones, 303-298-9630

Source: Country Code 1 ENUM LLC
Karen N. Mulberry
Sr. Project Manager, Numbering
Network Architecture & Standards
Office: +1.972.729.7914
Wireless: +1.972.896.8686
Fax: +1.425.963.5445
Pager: +1.800.664.2965

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Would you Buy a Car from this Man? 

While Ed Whitacre still wants to get paid from "customers" using "his pipes" twice per bit, Verizons VP Tom Hauke responsible for public policy is starting to row back, by opening more distance between Verizon and two other leading Bell operating companies by strongly pushing voluntary Internet neutrality principles, National Journals is reporting in Verizon Splits With Other Bells on Net Neutrality.


"We are trying to work with other players [in the technology and communications industries] to see how we can create the right climate to put market pressure on everyone to abide by the Internet principles," Verizon Executive Vice President Tom Tauke told a press briefing.

The principles govern the ability for a consumer to access any Web site and to attach any device to the Internet. They also seek for any consumer to be able to run any application, and ask that consumers receive full disclosure of terms and conditions when they purchase Internet access. High tech and consumer groups strongly support this approach.

"We think it is important to keep hammering on these principles for the orderly development of the market," Tauke said, asking rhetorically, "Can we get other companies to publicly embrace this set of principles and have some mechanism whereby customers would know which companies are with the program?"
But he said Verizon would continue to resist efforts to codify these Internet neutrality principles through legislation. (!?)

Referring to efforts by the European Union and China to fragment the technical root structure of the unified Internet, and to efforts by China to filter Web content, Tauke said there is a "danger of having governments getting involved in the Internet space."

So Europe is trying to fragment the Internet? Together with China? This is new. Fingerpointing? Stop thief! Over there are the dragons!

Tauke, a former Republican member of Congress from Iowa, encouraged Congress to scale back its legislative ambitions. Rather than seek a comprehensive rewrite of telecommunications law, Congress should pass a narrow federal bill allowing Bell companies to enter the video marketplace, he said.


Verizon executives "have not said things that have created the problem" over Internet neutrality, said a tech industry executive, who contended that the problem has been statements from the new AT&T (until recently SBC Communications) and BellSouth.

"Certainly the language that [Verizon Chief Executive Officer] Ivan Seidenberg has been using is much softer than the others," said Craig Aaron, communications director for non-profit FreePress. "I think they are all in the same boat, which is to control the network and be able to find a way to exact a price from everyone who is using the Internet."


Sweet 15 - Julia's first Ball 

Julia and some classmates on the war-path.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?