Two weeks ago, I introduced the concept of the IPX as a standardized interconnect service for IP networks. But what is required to be IPX compliant? One good place to start is by reading the GSMA IPX White Paper.
IPX is a private (and very large!) network that can connect mobile networks, fixed networks as well as content providers together for the bilateral and multilateral exchange of traffic and services. Of course, one alternative to the IPX is the public Internet - but that lacks the ability to control end-to-end quality of service. Another alternative is for each service provider to establish private, bilateral connections with every other service provider, but that becomes untenable and costly. In the IPX network, the media and signaling is transported end-to-end in accordance with service level agreements (SLAs) in accordance with the interconnect model selected and the service being exchanged. This way, a session that initiates with service provider A and ends with service provider D will have a high quality of service, as long as it is transported within the IPX network.
For instance, with regards to QoS, the service providers who are IPX compliat would not only guarantee the performance of its network, but also that of any IPX network to which it connects. IPX offers network operators three models of interconnect: Bilateral Transport Only, Bilateral Service Transport, and Multilateral Service Hub. Each model offers a different level of service and connectivity. The combination of different charging and interconnect models provides IPX customers with a high degree of flexibility in how they use the IPX service.
Service providers interested in GSMA IPX need to consider a network architecture that has the following requirements:
Protocol interworking—Supports interworking the largest possible set of IP and TDM protocols and variants
- Optimized routing—Provides a flexible platform that enables the use of advanced routing
- Comprehensive security—Provides service-transparent security solutions
- Flexible service-aware QoS—Defines and delivers global service policies that guarantee end-to-end QoS
- Value-added services—Supports value-added services beyond basic interconnection
- Total network cost—Provides the best possible cost for a required QoS at both the transport and service layer
What does this all mean? What do you need to install? Obviously, one element I’ve discussed in the past for IP networks is the need to put a Session Border Controller on the edges of the IP networks as a “border element” to insulate one network from the other, security-wise. Softswitches are also critical, as are gateways and bandwidth optimized gateways to help with the quality of service requirements and minimize costs. Billing and OSS platforms would also need to be involved. Chances are, if you are a service provider you already have these network elements and operational support systems in your network. All you need to find out is if the vendor is supporting IPX already, or has plans to. Because if it hasn’t already, IPX is coming to a network near you!
If you want to read more, please read our white paper on the Global Multimedia Exchange, Dialogic’s framework for service providers looking to deploy a real-world solution to evolve their networks to support IPX capabilities.