The New NGN

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

The New NGN


Next-generation networking (NGN) is an overused term.  I’ve been in this industry a long time, and NGN comes around and around and around.  I’ve seen it used in the enterprise to describe moving from 1Gbps to 10Gbps, and now it’s being used to describe the movement to software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). But the most accurate usage describes TDM and IP unification. 

In this version of NGN, we have media servers and softswitches and gateways – the converged next-generation network. What has become of this NGN? Has it been destroyed and dismantled, all in favor of IMS networks?

Not at all. Those networks have already been deployed, and carriers and enterprises don’t  want to do a rip and replace; they want to extend them if they can. So we see VoIP gateways, for instance, being extended to address new codecs (such as HD voice codecs like AMR-WB and Opus) and IP transport such as IPv6 and SRTP. The existing customer base for the I-Gate Pro can also take advantage of software updates to upgrade. In short, extending the network makes sense. 

What about softswitches, a staple of the converged next-generation network?

Many softswitches are already deployed, and they still work. Many carriers want to keep and extend their NGN networks, but they need to upgrade their softswitches to do so. That’s why, despite the decline in softswitch revenue, the drop is starting to level off: There is a continued demand because the networks are deployed.

Not only that, I see a merger of sorts with NGN/IMS. Years ago, many of us thought we’d move completely to IMS networks and leave the NGN networks behind. But what now we see a migration to IMS-type networks, or incremental steps to an IP network that “borrows” IMS when required, and upgrades from NGN when required. The intersection of these is the new NGN.

Need a refresher on softswitches? Check out our ControlSwitch system data sheet.

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