By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
The TDM-based public switched telephone network (PSTN) still brings in revenue, but operators need to start thinking about PSTN transformation as vendors start to move away from TDM equipment support and existing revenue from the PSTN network dries up.
Adding fuel to the need for PSTN transformation is the increasing cost of maintaining the PSTN network.
The direction of the PSTN migration is clear. Operators need to move to an IP-based network. This has been an inevitable and desirable trend for many years. In addition, it presents the opportunity for operators to converge their voice and data services onto a single network architecture that can drive revenue and cost reductions.
“A unified network built on IP offers several key benefits,” noted a recent TechZine article, The Time is Right for PSTN Migration, by Ana Pesovic and Luis Alberto Martin Santiago of Alcatel-Lucent. The authors state that, “For example, it can be evolved, commissioned and operated much more cost effectively than TDM or parallel networks can. It increases revenue potential by providing support for compelling new services. What’s more, it is future proof and can easily evolve in step with changing technologies and user interests.”
Making the jump requires a mix of technologies for most wireline operators.
The three strongest technologies for this PSTN migration to an IP-based network are:
- Voice over broadband, which enables service providers to leverage worldwide growth in ultra-fast broadband deployments to offer PSTN services on copper or fiber access lines
- Voice over narrowband, which is a good choice where broadband is not available or in cases where it’s vital to avoid disturbing or disrupting customers.
- Mobile voice, which will be a primary fit for younger consumers who have already abandoned a fixed telephone line.
Of the three, the authors suggest that there are some compelling advantages to voice over narrowband.
“A mix of migration technologies will be required in all cases,” they explained. “However, voice over narrowband does offer some particularly compelling advantages to service providers.”
These include a zero end-user impact, since voice over narrowband delivers completely transparent migration without having to leverage truck rolls, phone calls or additional appointments with the end user; no capital expense for the end-user since the change is deep in the network; a gateway to broadband; and lower operating expenses since narrowband is easy to maintain.
Whatever method operators use, however, doing nothing is a recipe for disaster. The clock is ticking on TDM when it comes to the PSTN.