Although I have written about IP packet exchange (IPX) before, this article by John Tanner of telecomasia.net suggests that it was time to address the current state of the IPX market and deployments. John’s article does a very good job in outlining the status of deployments in 2013, ranging from PCCW Global, BICS, Tata Communications and Telecom Italia Sparkle and more than half of his survey respondents say they are connected to an IPX. Progress is being made; however, I want to address some of the implications of John’s findings.
First, one of his discoveries is that many operators feel they are still one to three years away from deploying IPX, partly due to cluttered and convoluted marketing messages. We’ve seen this happen before with other technologies and adoption rates. I can’t count the times I’ve walked into Mobile World Congress to find many companies marketing the latest buzzword, even though their products are still the same. When companies cling to these buzzwords, it actually slows down the market for a period since users need to sort through the chaffe.
Another finding is that we’re still in the early days for LTE roaming and Diameter signaling, with the majority of operators looking at other options besides IPX to handle LTE roaming. I agree with this outlook, but would claim this is occurring because of a lack of effective Diameter Interworking Function products in the Diameter Signaling Controller arsenal. If an IPX solution contained a Diameter IWF product, then this would simplify the rollout in the IPX environment.
Many operators felt 2013 will be the year IPX takes off as LTE proliferates and demand for roaming support increases. I see 2014 as being the year for this to happen. I predict that Diameter IWF products, as indicated above, will achieve further penetration in the market, media transcoding to and from LTE networks and their HD Voice codecs is available, and users and subscribers will continue to demand roaming support.
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