Transformation towards IMS (Total IP)

The telecommunications industry has been going through a significant transformation over the past few years. At the outset incumbent operators used to focus on mainly basic voice services and still remained profitable due to the limited number of players in the space and requirement of huge amounts as initial investment.

However, with the advent of competitive vendors, rise in consumer base, and introduction of cost effective IP based technologies a major revolution has come about. This has enabled operators to come out of their traditional business models to maintain and enhance subscriber base by providing better and cheaper voice, multimedia and data services in order to grab the biggest possible share in this multi- billion dollar industry.

The evolution in Telecom industry has been accelerating all the time. The Next-Generation Operators wants to keep pace with the rapidly changing technology by, adapting to market needs and looking at the system and business process from multiple perspectives concurrently. Communication Service Providers (CSPs) need to consider several factors in mind before proposing any solution. They need to deploy solutions which are highly automated, highly flexible, caters to customer needs coupled with ultra low operating costs.

By hosting new services on the new platform and combining new and old services CSP‟s aim to provide service bundles that would generate new revenue streams. This process is largely dependant on IMS ( IP Multimedia Subsystem ) architecture .

Transformation towards IMS (Total IP)
Transformation towards IMS (Total IP)

Optimization in operator landscape evolve as result of synergistic technologies that come together to address the innovation and cost optimization needs of operator for better user experience. In following sections different technological evolutions that are affecting overall operator ecosystems have been discussed with focus towards Service Layer.

Legacy to IP transformation

This section broadly covered the aspects of migration from legacy IN solution to new age JAINSLEE framework based one. Applies to Legacy IN hosting voice based services mostly  such as VPN, Access Screening ,Number Portability, SIP-Trunking ,Call Gapping.

Most operator environments have seen a rise in the number of service delivery platforms. Also complexity of telecom networks have increased manifold hence CSPs are facing multiple challenges. Increased efforts and costs are required for maintaining all the SDP platforms. These platforms are generally of different vendors and cater to different technologies thereby greatly increase chances of limiting the scalability and flexibility of the operator landscape. More effort required for sustaining the life cycle of the platform and challenges in integrating non compatible SDPs due to proprietary design have been stumbling blocks in the progress of CSPs across the world.

To overcome these challenges there is trend in the market to move towards SDP consolidation wherein instead of maintaining several SDPs with their proprietary design CSPs prefer maintaining a single or less number of SDPs having standardized interfaces.

SDP consolidation SDP consolidation (1) SDP consolidation (2)

As illustrated in the above figure there is a transition that is taking place in the industry towards consolidation of service delivery session control. This would provide a cost effective sustenance of existing applications and the rapid creation and deployment of new services leading to increased revenue recognition by CSPs.

  • Agile Development
  • Innovative services
  • open SOA based architectures
  • IN/NGN Platform and Services
  • Reuse of existing investments in legacy service platforms
  • low cost of new service development
  • faster time to market
  • Monetize investment in Network Infrastructure uplift – SIP trunking, VoLTE etc.

Services that should be covered  in the Scope of Migration from fixed line to IP telephony are:

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) : An Intelligent Network (IN) service, which offers the functions of a private telephone network. The basic idea behind this service is that business customers are offered the benefits of a (physical) private network, but spared from owning and maintaining it.
  • Access Screening(ASC): An IN service, which gives the operators the possibility to screen (allow/barring) the incoming traffic and decide the call routing, especially when the subscribers choose an alternate route/carrier/access network (also called Equal Access) for long distance calls on a call by call basis or pre-selected.
  • Number Portability(NP) : An IN service allows subscribers to retain their subscriber number while changing their service provider, location, equipment or type of subscribed telephony service. Both geographic numbers and non-geographic numbers are supported by the NP service.

WebRTC based Unified Communication platform

Using WebRTC Solution for Delivering In Context Voice which provides new monetizing benefits to the Enterprise customers of Service Providers. This includes following components:

  • WebRTC Gateway for implementation for inter-connect with SIP Legacy
  • Enhancement of WebRTC Client with new features like Cloud Address Book, Conferencing & Social Networking hooks.
  • Cloud based solutions

INtoJAISNLEE

Challenges in Migration to IMS  (Total IP )

Since long I have been advocating the benefits of migration to IMS  from a current fixed line / legacy/ proprietary VOIP / SS7 based system . However I decided to write this post on the challenges in migration to IMS system from a telecom provider’s view.  Though I could think of many , I have jot down the major 4 . they are as follows :

Data Migration challenges

  • Establishing a common data model definition
  • Data migration seamlessly
  • Configuration management
  • Extracting data from multiple sources and vendors , that includes legacy systems
  • Extracting data due to its large scale and volume

Training

  • Creating an effective knowledge share and transfer for live operations
  • Training in fallback plans, standards and policies .

Customer impact

  • Minimized customer outage
  • Enhance customer experience by delivering quality services on schedule
  • Ensuring security of customer’s confidential data
  • Transfer of customer services without any impact.

Testing in replicated environment

  • Physical pre-transfer test
  • Reducing cycle time
  • Verification and validation at every change in data environment
  • Detect production issues early in the test -lifecycle

Fallback plans

  • Pilot program and real network simulation for ensuring preparedness
  • Tracking changes in new network


VPN ( Virtual Public Network ) over SIP

People working at different locations need a fast, secure and reliable way to share information across computer networks . This is were a way to connect private networks over and top of public network becomes necessary and Virtual Private Network comes into picture .

vpn

SIP ( Session Initiation Protocol ) for VPN

VOIP across an SSL-based VPN is achieved in good quality by encapsulating the UDP VOIP packets ( SIP and RTP ) in TCP/IP .

Data used for defining a VPN like its Groups, its Members and the associated profiles is organized hierarchically.It includes information like who is the operator, subscriber of VPN, group ID and member ID.

vpn+ service broker

Grouping :

Groups created to implement policies and restrictions common to a set of users.These include:

  • Apply permissions to call between the Groups and to the outside world
  • Apply pricing between distinct types of of PNP (Mobile, Fixed, Privileged list)
  • Some numbers assigned a preferential tariff plan. These numbers are not part of the VPN ( Virtual On-Net) .
  • privileged list within a VPN across multiple groups

performance issues

VPN has no negative influence on latency, jitter and packet loss

With enabling authentication, encryption, HMAC, anti-replay attack, and initialization vector, and use small RTP size for Codec, the vpn overhead is high

Counters

For developing a VPN application counters are employed , some of which could be as follows

  • * Number of calls On-Net and Off-Net
  • * Numbers of Calls VPN
  • * Number of calls with Forced On-Net

Calls between endpoints like

  • * MS to MS Normal (mobile)
  • * MS to MS Privilege
  • * MS toward PABX

Success Fail rate

  • Number of calls successful without rerouting
  • Number of calls with successful rerouting
  • Number of calls with Failure (Failed = No answer, Busy, Not reachable, Congestion)
  • Number of calls on non-response (No Answer)
  • Number of calls on Not Reachable
  • Number of calls Route Select Failure
  • Number of calls on busy
  • Number of calls barred by VPN service.

other parameters

  • Total number of queries
  • Number of States created/modified
  • Number of change in the rights of calls
  • Number of issuance of observation Reports

Service Overview

Lets see how would a SIP based VPN services over telecom application server with Service Broker works .

Leveraging the Service Broker to offer voice VPN service to existing Subscribers is an arduous task. The Subscriber shall benefit from reduced charging rates for VPN calls (ON-Net), improved employee connectivity (within the VPN scope) and a consistent user experience across fixed and mobile phones.

VPN services shall be integrated with the R-IM-SSF component of the service broker. R-IM-SSF shall provide mediation as well as session and state management capabilities that shall make VPN service available over multiple networks including SS7 and IMS networks.

note : R-IM-SSF = reverse IMS gateway to IN

The subscriber base can be interfaces via a SMP that might also be used to add groups and assign right and privilege to member

note : SMP is the Provisioning interface for VPN service subscriber

Features of VPN application

1.Private numbering plan for both mobile and fixed subscribers (Short number dialing).

2.Distribution of subscriber under a hierarchical Data Model :

  1. Subscriber VPN( Enterprise Level)
  2. Group of Users ( Group level. Can be either of type Mobile or PABX )
  3. State (End user of service)

3.Grouping of a short number on the basis of following types:

  1. Member of mobile VPN
  2. Privileged user
  3. PABX user

4. Forced On-Net call handling, which shall allow user to dial the public number of another On-Net user with On-Net call Features.

5.Virtual On-Net Call Handling which allocates On-Net extension to non VPN users( Privileged list)

6.Off-Net call Handling via exhaust code which shall allow vpn users to access non-vpn public numbers

7. Prohibit the call based on a set of rules like ( all off-net calls barred).

8.Allow calls based on destination numbers. For example allow off-net calls for numbers provisioned in the white list(allowed list)

9.Outgoing call screening on the basis of time( Time based barring)