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Converged Multimedia Networks

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This book focuses largely on enabling technologies for network convergence.В  A principal aim is to show where parallel functions exist in fixed and mobile voice network architectures and to explain how these functions will be combined. The authors describe the components of a future converged architecture and consider the following key aspects: QoS Requirements, Proposed Solution Architectures, Protocol and Interface options, Underlying Network Issues and Security issues.В  The book also compares and describes initiatives from several standards bodies working to simplify to a clean architecture and a common set of protocols. The impact on a Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network, the preferred method of transport for the core network, will be considered in detail.

In 1998, the MultiService Forum (MSF) started on a unique journey. Supported by BT and other major carriers, the MSF set out to create a collaborative working environment where engineers from all backgrounds could explore and discuss their ideas. The forum’s aim was to take the specifications of a twenty-first-century network to the implementation stage. Building on agreed architectural concepts, the work would take the design right through to practical implementation and testing. Cost saving was a factor, carriers were beginning to see the need to make economic savings and multi-service platform was an attractive concept. But the technical challenge, as always, was the main driving force.

Today, almost eight years later, the success of MSF is evident. Numerous detailed implementation agreements have been published and interoperability tests have taken place across the globe, to prove end-to-end solutions. The MSF membership will testify to the very many hours spent in problem solving but also that the journey has been memorable and worthwhile.

And now at last a book! This has come about by the determination of some of the MSF contributors to provide a readable and well-referenced account of the essential elements involved in the future Next Generation Network. All the major topics are covered from Call Control, the implementation of Value-added Services, the relation to Mobile/IMS/Wireless technologies and the importance of the MPLS Core. In conclusion, there is a short section on the achievement of Quality of Service and the role of Bandwidth Manager, which, of course, reminds us that the pace of development and innovation in our industry remains undiminished.
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