Convergence of Fixed and Mobile Networks

Convergence of Fixed and Mobile Networks

Gábor Kovács, Gábor Árpád Németh, Zoltán Pap
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2919-6.ch003
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This chapter gives overview of one of a recent trend in telecommunication convergence: fixed-mobile convergence (FMC). Its types, implications, and main challenges are identified and analyzed with special respect to the protocols employed. The future integration of fixed and mobile access to next generation networks (NGN) is investigated from several aspects, such as AAA (Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting) protocols, network and application layer mobility management solutions, and policy control. The focus is on access and core networks where the convergence is going to take place. At the end, a short outlook is given to near future mobile trends.
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The FMC has four driving forces: the service based interconnection of networks, the transport network convergence, the service plane convergence, and the terminal convergence. The service-based interconnection has begun to become possible with the appearance of mobile telecommunication networks. The service provided is the same: it is possible make a phone call from fixed network to mobile network and vice versa. However, this integration has not yet been achieved for all services, for instance video calls. The first real step towards FMC is the network based (transport plane) convergence, where a common IP based network infrastructure is used from different access technologies. The user centric point of view, that is the service plane convergence, means that the user can access any subscribed service from different terminals and the service is adapted to the capabilities of that terminal. The terminal based convergence is supported by high-tech terminals that can use several access technologies. The ultimate convergence, when all these four conditions are met, is an IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem – see Chapter XIII) based NGN with hybrid terminals.

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