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A Quick Comparison of NGN with Legacy Network,2006

Compiled by Ali Azhar

The incumbent operators like BT (British Telecom), PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Limited) have their legacy networks built on a layered architecture with every vertical network providing a separate service that is no integration in network platforms and no convergence in service. Legacy TDM/SS7 based transport and signaling. None of the IETF (Internet) developed protocols are used all ITU-T based used in the bearer and control signaling. Following is the network level description of legacy network for the scene setting leading to NGN (Next Generation Network) understanding. Protocols not explained for simplicity which are though explained in the advanced version of this article.
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Classical 4Khz narrow-band signal, ADPCM G.722 (64Kbps) voice digitized at local exchanges. For data either ADSL or dial-up modem. The dial-up modem data is off-loaded at local exchange to the gateway RAS (remote Access Server) for ISP connectivity. Voice Circuits (TDM) traverse CU (1000 in number), Local Exchanges or LS (typical in 100s) and finally the core Trunk Exchanges or TS (in 10s). All switches perform space switching, Closs switches or class 5 switches, no statistical multiplexing anywhere. For ADSL internet connectivity: At local exchanges the upper band data signals are off loaded by the special multiplexer/demultiplexer DSLAM over the ATM network. Can provide data and narrow band VoIP. Subscriber home-based splitter required to separate 4Khz voice band from data stream (multiples of 4Khz bands upto 2 Mhz) over the copper local loop. At BT HDSL/SDSL are used apart from B-ISDN (PRI) for leased line access to SME. In PTCL ISDN/Frame Relay over optical used as leased line for SME customers. The PTCL solution is cumbersome and not scalable (as incremental bandwidth enhancement not possible). For Large Businesses and other Service Providers (Cellular Operators, LDI) PDH is used which is inherent of problems like lack of resiliency, very complex, expensive and heavy multiplexing equipment to add/drop single E1 or E2. To answer this growing need of diverse data and voice services SDH evolved which can provide add/drop multiplexers for E1s from STM-1 (155Mbps) and STM- 16 (1Gbps) with computational ease. The IP network resides in the center of the core network as shown in the diagram. The IP packets/traffic to reach the customers from the core has to traverse the non IP external core than the access network, thus adding much overhead, interworking, media conversion, rates adaptation etc. The IP core is based on the WDM optical transport. The optical technology but the old one as DWDM still in its infancy and not adopted globally by the vendors. This shows the processing overheads associated with the addition of headers as the data traverse through different transport technologies like IP, ATM, SDH and physical layer WDM. Its like IP over ATM over SDH over WDM. Here it is worthy to mention that ATM and IP are packet switched with ATM providing circuit emulation by Virtual Permanent connections which can be tear down and re configured in software. SDH is TDM based with Virtual Containers (VC4-VC12) carrying the payload. The payload can be ATM cell (53bytes) or IP/Ethernet (1500Bytes), Frame Relay etc.

Courtesy: BT (British Telecom), TCN Journal, Prof. Andy Valdar (University College London)

A Quick Comparison of NGN with Legacy Network,2006

Compiled by Ali Azhar

Simplified Incumbent Operators Classical Network Architecture

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Consumers/SME supported by SDSL. Broadband VoIP (sampling 16Khz, equivalent in UMTS is WB-AMR defined in release 5), broadband internet, IPTv and FMC making a quadruple play (fully convergent service bundle). DSL over ATM platform still used but relatively by 2008 Ethernet (LAN over WAN) will replace it. All services voice or internet just treated as multiple streams with in single multimedia streaming session. Single data network. Large Businesses supported by layer2/3 VPNs using Metro Ethernet for access and for VPN tunneling a central MPLS core over DWDM. Even IP/MPLS supported. MPLS is relatively new switching/transport technology with IP like diverse service handling and ATM like QoS using label/tag switching. Gigabit Ethernet over Optical fiber has enabled concept of LAN over WAN The soft switches based on Ethernet Fast switches and Routers make the core. All IP traffic is authenticated, authorized, QoS allocation ( packet loss, jitter and delay), bearer authorization, data rates, bandwidth allocation at the edge routers with DiffServ architecture implemented on them. COPS/Protocols like SIP (for Multimedia Session) or H.323 (ITU-T) implemented for the multimedia sessions/streaming add/drop during a multiparty call. More like IMS-centric. Dense WDM at core or with GMPLS (ITU-T ASON) finally IP over Glass i.e IP over DWDM

NGN Architecture for an Incumbent Operator (e.g BT 21CN)


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Courtesy: BT (British Telecom), TCN Journal, Prof. Andy Valdar (University College London)