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Fixed mobile converge


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  • 1. FIXED MOBILE CONVERGENCE Johanna Heinonen Abstract main standardization area of each. FMC network architecture and examples about the call cases are Fixed mobile convergence means that fixed and presented in chapter 4. Chapter 5 covers end user wireless networks will merge and end users are able to services related to fixed mobile convergence. Chapter 6 get the same services no matter which access and 7 concentrates on effects to operator business technology or terminal device they use. FMC is an models and vendor strategies. FMC challenges are opportunity for different types of operators. They get introduced in chapter 8 and chapter 9 contains the some new ways to get revenue from their existing conclusions. networks and possibly new types of subscribers because of the large variety of access technologies. 2. Overview of Fixed Mobile Convergence For end users FMC brings easiness to use all services via best available access network with one terminal. The concept of fixed mobile converge is not anything The target is also to charge all services with one bill. new. It was introduced already 1990’s. However at that Examples about the services are VoIP, presence, push- time the technology was not mature enough and there to-talk , instant messaging and interactive gaming. were no unified standards. There were neither proper terminals nor appropriate market business drivers. At The core of the FMC architecture is 3GPP standardized that time FMC strategies were based for example on IP multimedia subsystem together with IETF SIP intelligent network platform that supports both fixed protocol. and mobile users (Vrdoljak 2000, Ciannetta 1999). The target of fixed mobile convergence is to have all Key Words services seamlessly available from any network and Convergence, IMS, SIP with any terminal device. In practice this means device convergence, service and application convergence and network convergence. Device convergence means that 1. Introduction one mobile device supports several access technologies and in addition to telephony some other functions such There are different kinds of operators in the market: as camera or TV. Service convergence means that the fixed operators, mobile operators, hybrid operators and same services can be provided to the user over different mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). All of access networks and to different devices. Network those have realized that the competition in the market convergence gives the possibility to access the core becomes more and more tough and the revenues are network and services via different access technologies. getting smaller or coming close to zero. Fixed operators realize that their subscribers have a tendency to replace Separate wireless, wireline and data networks will their fixed phones with a mobile phone and mobile merge and it is possible to access to the unified core operators are lacking high bandwidth that the fixed network via different access technologies. Using operators can offer to their subscribers. Therefore new common technologies and common services in the fixed strategies and business opportunities are needed. One and mobile networks end users can reach all services good possibility is fixed mobile convergence. with the same terminal. 3GPP specified IMS architecture and IETF SIP protocol are the main For MVNOs fixed mobile convergence makes it building blocks in this architecture. IMS is the core of possible to utilize both fixed and mobile operators the fixed mobile convergence architecture. IMS handles networks. This means that MVNOs can offer services to the SIP sessions between terminals. GPRS and 3G end users more flexible and efficient way. Mobile networks are offering data connections to the network operators can enhance their coverage for example by servers but IMS gives the possibility to have mobile to using UMA technology which means higher data rates mobile sessions. Application servers behind the IMS are inside the buildings over WLAN and handovers to offering services like push-to-talk and presence. GSM or 3G networks when needed. Hybrid operators can reduce their costs by optimizing their networks. One difficult aspect in FMC is how to enable a set of Fixed operators can co-operate with mobile operators or new services so that they work in every location, with enlarge their coverage towards mobile access by using any access technology and terminal device. Especially multi radio terminals with WLAN access or UMA. seamless handovers from one access network to another are a challenge. Common standards play a key role in In chapter 2 is presented the overview of fixed mobile FMC because otherwise equipments from different convergence. Chapter 3 covers the main vendors are incompatible which makes it difficult to standardization bodies related to FMC and tells the
  • 2. reach the main target: same services available no matter the network and access technology. FMC makes it possible to have SIP sessions between different kinds of terminal devices. These SIP sessions 3. Status of Related Standards can include VoIP, video sharing, gaming, messaging etc. Fixed mobile convergence merges different types of networks. This means that lots of protocols and In figure 1 there is two call cases presented. In case different types of architectures are involved. It is thus number 1 SIP client in a PC makes a voice call to POTS essential to the vendors, operators and finally also to the phone. Before the SIP session can be established both end users to have common standards related to FMC. the PC client and POTS phone have to register Otherwise interoperability problems prevent the themselves to the IMS. SIP client in the PC can do it by efficient use of network resources. itself but in case of the POTS phone the POTS card in DSLAM (Nokia D500) does the registration of behalf of The main standardization bodies related to FMC are 3rd the POTS phone. When PC client initiates a VoIP call Generation Partnership Project 3GPP and Internet towards the POTS phone the SIP invite message is sent engineering task force IETF. 3GPP have defined SIP- to the IMS. The logical function that handles the session based IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) for telephony control in IMS is called call state control function and other services. It is based on IETF work with some (CSCF). P-CSCF is the logical entity which IP address extensions. The core IMS architecture was introduced has to be known by the mobile. I-CSCF is the in 3GPP release 5. Release 6 adds some improvements interrogating CSCF and S-CSCF is a SIP-server that to this architecture such as CS-IMS interworking. controls the services of the users. When the SIP session Circuit switched - IMS interworking makes it possible has been set up between the users the actual speech to set up a call between SIP client in IMS domain and a packets are routed using normal IP routing, these normal 3G mobile in circuit switched network. Also packets do not go through the IMS. UMA was introduced in release 6. 3GPP is continuing its work in release 7. In case number 2 a multiradio terminal is registered to IMS via WLAN access point. The other terminal has IETF is the main standardization body for internet made a location update to the MSC server via 3G radio protocols especially it is the originator of the SIP access network. When the call is set up the SIP invite standards (RFC 2543). ETSI TISPAN handles fixed goes first to IMS which routes the call to the MSC telephony network standardization and is specifying IP server. MSC server realizes that subscriber B is in its and SIP-based NGN architecture based on 3GPP IMS VLR database and starts normal paging procedure. release 6. Open Mobile alliance (OMA) is working on When the session is setup A and B can start the SIP-based services which are used on top of IMS. conversation and possibly add to the session other Examples of these applications are Push-to-talk and elements like messaging or video. presence. Because IMS is the centralized point in the convergence network it is possible to share some resources regardless of the service or access type. These resources include 4. FMC Network Architecture for example charging, presence, group and list functions, provisioning, session control and operation Figure 1 shows a simple FMC network architecture. In and management (Kataria, 2005). this example the IMS is connected to access network via session border controller, Push-to-talk application server and to the MSC server which makes CS-IMS 5. End User Services interworking possible. End users want the price and quality of fixed wireline and the convenience of mobile wireless. For end users FMC means the possibility to have one terminal which is capable of handling all the needed access technologies and services. Also all the services can be charged with one bill. Fixed mobile convergence association FMCA is an alliance of telecom operators whose objective is to accelerate the development of convergence products and services. FMCA has listed convergence service scenarios (FMCA). Here are the most important ones: 1. Converged contacts is a service that provides personal contacts and address book in the network- Fig 1. FMC network architecture. based storage. This storage should be accessible
  • 3. from any device and the terminal is able to always via the best possible access network and synchronize the local address book based on they can use the same set of services by using the information from central network-based storage. same terminal device. The challenge for operators 2. Personal multimedia provides secure access to the is to provide feature consistency across different user’s multimedia content that is stored in home or kinds of networks both wireline and wireless. Also in the network from any device. broader coverage is needed. 3. Multimedia call with data sharing service makes it possible for the user to switch between voice only For operators the FMC means possibilities to GSM call and multimedia call containing e.g. remain competitive, differentiate themselves from picture or broadband-enabled TV. The service others and opportunity to grow into the new areas automatically detects which kinds of networks are which can mean new different type of customers available. and revenue opportunities. In general FMC offers 4. Combinatorial services are based on availability two main benefits to the operators: interoperability of multiple connections (circuit and data) during and reduction of the costs because common the same communication session. For example it is resources can be used. possible to add to the voice call messaging (SMS/ MMS/IM), video streaming and one or more data FMC is a way for mobile operators to access fixed flows (file sharing). network. This means a threat for fixed operators 5. Electronic Programme Guide service is listing who have to develop new strategies. Cellular available programmes that can be watched on the markets in many industrial countries are almost mobile device or recorded on video recorder. saturated and therefore also mobile operators have 6. Automation control and monitoring service to find new revenue opportunities. Trying to get makes it possible to control various home based more subscribers does not work any more. The tasks via the mobile device such as temperature and existing subscribers should increase their usage of access. services which leads to the conclusion that new 7. Convergent call control provides the ability to attractive services are needed. Seamless roaming automatically handle the call based on some events. from one access technology to another is essential. For example based on the information of the user’s Handsets (multiradio terminals) capable of electronic calendar, the location of the user and the handling several access technologies will have a importance of the caller the call will be connected key role. to the user or to the voice mail etc. 8. Multimodal services include several scenarios Inter working with existing networks is very where voice and data sessions are mixed. important. When operators are developing their networks towards FMC the solutions must be In addition to VoIP calls other services commercially adjusted to each operator. Also regulations might available for end users are for example video sharing be different in different countries. and instant messaging. Presence service enriches other applications, for instance push-to-talk service benefits if Ficora has made a report (Ficora 2006) about the the user can see from the contact list who are available investment plans of the Finnish operators in the near for group talk. Interactive gaming and chat give nice future. The report tells that the amount of investments is entertainment for users. going to increase because of the equipment needed for convergence and next generation networks. On the other Though IMS gives the possibility to have all above hand the operators believe that they will get remarkable mentioned services most probably voice remains the cost savings by using IP based techniques. Also they most widely used service in fixed and mobile networks. believe that convergence will bring new services for end Voice is an example of convergent service because it users. can be offered across both networks (Kataria 2005). Some other services such as SMS and instant messaging Like many other emerging industries FMC is a are associated with a specific network. To be able to continuously changing and complex environment send a text message from SIP client to 3G mobile a which creates uncertainties at technology, demand conversion from instant message to SMS is needed. The and strategy levels (Wong 2006). The target is to introduce new services in a transparent way technological uncertainties are caused by rapid over both types of networks. technological development and the developing standards. Despite the fact that there is a general understanding about the huge potential of FMC there are many open questions related to the new 6. Influence to Operator Business services. What are the services that the users are Models willing to pay will be seen in the future. All these questions cause uncertainty in demand level. End users expect from operators simplicity of Strategic uncertainties are common to all emerging services, simplified charging and quality. FMC is industries. A clear framework is needed to prevent one possibility to get closer to these targets. With the operators to do costly mistakes by entering and FMC the end users are connected to the service
  • 4. subsequently exiting non-core businesses and markets. FMC gives lots of possibilities but on the other hand it means also new investments to operators. Common FMC applications can be segmented in two standards have a great importance. Without markets: consumer and business. In general standardization the equipment of different vendors consumers want to be entertained and communicate cannot be integrated together and operators cannot with friends and family. Business users on the other utilize their networks in the best possible way. hand need good connections and high bandwidth. Enterprises invest a lot to enterprise Standardization work is still going on. A question is communications systems (PBX). also how much the end users are willing to pay for the services. For example many users think that VoIP services should be free of charge. This is due to the fact 7. Vendor Strategies that for example with skype the users can already have free VoIP calls in the Internet. The fact that operators want to reuse their existing networks has to be taken into account by vendors. Many vendors have different kinds of evolution paths and References step-by-step network introduction to the FMC and all IP networks. UMA solution is offered by many vendors to Vrdoljak, M., Vrdoljak, S., Skugor, G. 2000. “Fixed- access the network over WLAN. Then the main solution Mobile Convergence Strategy: Technologies and is based on IMS. Seamless roaming and availability of Market Opportunities”, IEEE Communications services are key messages to the operators. Magazine, pp. 116-121. Vendors have realized that standardization is a key Ciannetta, M. C., Colombo, G., Lavagnolo, R., Grillo, issue if they want to provide solutions that can be D., Bordoni, F. 1999. ”Convergence Trends for Fixed integrated to the equipment of other vendors. Most of and Mobile Services”, IEEE Personal Communications. the vendors have taken an active role in many standardization bodies. 3GPP. 8. FMC Challenges IETF. Nowadays there are clear strategies how to implement FMC. Several standardization bodies concentrate on the OMA. related standards and there are already some attractive end user services available. Still FMC is facing some challenges that need to be solved (Safavian, 2006). TISPAN. 1. Number plans and number portability. Fixed and . mobile numbers come from separate blocks and they have prefixes that contain information for FMCA. 2006. FMCA Convergence Application interconnection charging. Currently there is separate Scenarios. fixed number portability and mobile number portability available but not fixed/mobile number portability. ce_Application_Requirements_Rel_1.0.pdf, referenced 2. Directory services. Fixed operators provide on 26th of March 2007. directory service to their customers. This catalogue contains information on all fixed line customers. Kataria, D., Logothetis, D. 2005. “Fixed Mobile Currently mobile operators do not offer this kind of Convergence: Network architecture, Services, service and mobile numbers are considered as personal Terminals, and Traffic management”, IEEE 16th data. International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and 3. Handset availability is always a problem in the early Mobile Radio Communications, pp.2289-2293. stages of any telecommunications technology. 4. Role of regulators. There are two opposite views Wong, C., Low, A., Hiew, P. 2006. “Fixed-mobile about the role of regulators in FMC. One point of view Convergence: Creating Values with Appropriate is that it is not a task of regulators to decide the rules for Business Models”, Information and Communication FMC. Regulators should only set up the environment so Technologies, pp.17-22. that the market forces can guide direction, extent and pace of FMC. Another point of view is that since the Ficora. 2006. definitions of information, data and entertainment has changed the rules related to network and service O/Files/CurrentFile/Investointiselvitys2006.pdf , providers should change accordingly. referenced on 21st of April 2007. 9. Conclusion
  • 5. Safavian, R. 2006. “ FMC: Fixed-Mobile Convergence”, Bechtel Communications Technical Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2.