Sunday, March 6, 2005

VON Keynote: Session Management is Key to Scaling Multimedia IP

There are 3 mega trends shaking the industry, said Raj Sharma, President of NexTone, in a keynote address at VON Spring. These include the rapid proliferation of multimedia IP endpoints; the very compressed timeframe required to introduce new apps and services in the competitive IP market; the growing convergence of voice, data, video from both wireline and wireless networks.

We're still in the early adopter phase of VoIP adoption, said Sharma, estimating that there is now about a 10% penetration rate. Today's traffic patterns indicate that 90% of VoIP calls are from and to the PSTN, while only 10% is IP-to-IP. In the near future, Sharma said these traffic patterns will be reversed, with the majority of traffic flowing between multimedia IP endpoints. Rapid adoption of multimedia IP endpoints will create a huge demand for new applications and service providers will need to react quickly. Scalability will be a critical factor for service providers, as the number of users, number of applications and number of devices on the network put new demands on converged backbones.

Sharma gave several network architecture suggestions to handle these challenges:

  • Simplify the network, especially in the service and management/control planes.

  • Use real time session managers and border controllers to handle real-time IP applications and services.

  • Use IP-based multimedia application servers for enhanced services.

  • Redeploy softswitches and media gateways to the edge of the network.

  • Use MPLS routers for transport.
  • In December 2004, NexTone Communications introduced a new session management solution that combines both transport and application QoS to deliver deterministic performance for real-time services over converged IP networks. The new platform includes a NEBS3-compliant, chassis-based Real-time Session Manager (RSM), which acts as a centralized policy manager and enforcement point to manage network resources and optimize call distribution, and the Multiprotocol Session Controller (MSC), enhanced with microflow management capabilities to work with MPLS routers to enforce QoS policies across the network edge.

See also