The Next Generation Network (NGN) is a very complex environment, where various parties (network operators, services and application providers, integrators, etc.) necessarily cooperate on the provision of advanced converged services. This chapter presents the current status and fundamentals of conventional, converged and bundled valueadded services, and then depicts their transformation into distributed NGN services. The characteristics of NGN services are considered with respect to the architecture of the NGN service stratum and the enterprise framework, both standardized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Finally, the implementation and deployment of interoperable NGN services through open interfaces are considered in conjunction with market trends and the standardization efforts of several international organizations or other independent initiatives, forums, alliances, etc.
The Current Status Of Telecommunication Services
Covering the communication needs of subscribers continues to be the main business activity in the field of telecommunications. Yet, across the globe, fixed and mobile communications are nearing saturation point, a fact that reduces potential profit margins of carriers and operators whose simultaneous aim is to increase subscriber numbers.
As a result, in recent years telecommunication organizations have focussed on increasing the average revenue per user, rather than the number of subscribers, by introducing new telecommunication services that offer much more than standard voice services. These services are based on the interaction of sound, video and text with unrestricted access to the multimedia, information systems and relevant services, thus providing subscribers with greatly enhanced control over their interactions with the wider world.
These additional services are end-to-end services that operate through dedicated servers and add value to the access network. They are reported as premium pricing services, as their providers have the ability to apply individual deployment and charging policy (premium charging - PRMC) per service, irrespective of the policies applied to the underlying networking infrastructure employed.
The introduction of additional services to fixed and mobile access networks has impelled the providers of the networking infrastructure to provide additional connectivity (premium connectivity) in order to guarantee the required augmented quality per service.
From the point of view of the market, the providers of the additional services cooperate in order to package different premium services offered to the customers as product (bundled service). There follows an analysis of the most important ways in which such additional and bundled services are created and promoted.
Key Terms in this Chapter
UPN: Universal Personal Number.
ANI: Applications Network Interface.
DPE: Distributed Processing Environment.
API: Application Programming Interface.
SLA: Service Level Agreement.
XML: Extensible Markup Language.
UMTS: Universal Mobile Telecommunications System.
GII: Global Information Infrastructure.
WAP: Wireless Application Protocol.
DCOM: Distributed Component Object Model.
RACF: Resource and Admission Control Functions.
SWB: Shared Whiteboarding.
Telco: Telecommunications Operators.
WiMAX: Worldwide Interoperability of Microwave Access.
SMS: Short Message Service.
PSTN: Public Switched Telephone Network.
VDSL: Very high Speed Digital Subscriber Line.
UML: Unified Modelling Language.
W3C: World Wide Web Consortium.
WWRF: Wireless Word Research Forum.
ADSL: Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line.
UNI: User Network Interface.
NACF: Network Attachment Control Function.
ARPU: Average Revenue per User.
IP: Internet Protocol.
SS7: Signaling System No.7.
ETSI: European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
GSM: Global System for Mobile communications.
VPN: Virtual Private Network.
QoS: Quality of Service.
PRMC: Premium Charging.
NGN: Next Generation Networks.
IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
WDM: Wavelength Division Multiplexing.
HGI: Home Gateway Initiative.
IN: Intelligent Network.
NNI: Network Network Interface.
ANSI: American National Standards Institute.
IDL: Interface Definition Language.
VoD: Video on Demand.
CORBA: Common Object Request Broker Architecture.
3GPP: 3rd Generation Partnership Project.
ISDN: Integrated Services Digital Network.
OSI: Open System Interconnection.
FMCA: Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance.
ITU: International Telecommunication Union.
OSA: Open Service Access.
IETF: Internet Engineering Task Force.