Naresh Wadhwa, President and Country Manager, Cisco India & SAARC
Over the past two decades, the way people communicate, stay informed, and are entertained has changed dramatically. There have been two major technologies driving this change: the Internet and mobile wireless communication.
While both have made our lives better,the existing mobile wireless environment has not been able to fully meet the expectations of internet users because the speed at which theses services can be accessed is limited. Therefore mobile operators are deploying broadband network technologies such as third generation (3G) and enhanced 3G to improve the quality of experience for their users and succeed in today’s communications landscape.
Going forward, mobile operators will continue to evolve their networks, improve user experience and service opportunities. One evolutionary technology that will come to their aid is the 3rd Generation Partnership Project(3GPP) Long Term Evolution (LTE) specification. Also designated as a fourth generation mobile specification (4G), LTE is designed to provide multi-megabit bandwidth, more efficient use of the radio network, latency reduction, and improved mobility. This combination will enhance the subscriber’s interaction with the network and further drive the demand for mobile multimedia services.
4G networks will allow users to stream mobile multimedia, such as TV broadcasts and online games, with speeds up to 10 times that of 3G networks. Such systems provide access to a wide range of telecommunication services supported by mobile and fixed networks increasingly accessed using hand held devices. 4G will enable high speed Internet anytime, anywhere and facilitate higher bandwidth, higher data rate, and lower authentication load. It will support higher user-level customization providing virtual environments agnostic to network and devices being used.
The advent of 4G services will lead to an explosion of new video applications that will transform telecom service providers into ‘experience providers.’ When 4G comes along, whether it's WiMAX or LTE, service providers can deliver high-definition video over the air. Investments in Â WiMAX and LTE will make high-definition video streaming widely available on both fixed and mobile devices. Telecom providers will move into the cable companies’ traditional territory by offering more comprehensive video services while cable companies will offer improved voice and Internet options to better compete with the telcos.
4G has bandwidth capabilities that will allow for 15Mbps one day. With that kind of bandwidth and quality service, more applications will come along. As new web services expand their bandwidth capabilities, mobile operators will look for strategies and solutions to enhance their existing 3G networks while addressing 4G deployment requirements.
Solutions for success:
Solutions designed for specific requirements of the next generation multimedia core network include the ability to support both 3G and 4G functionality on a single platform providing major benefits to mobile operators wanting to smoothly migrate their networks, maximize their investments, and offer an exceptional experience to their customers. To ensure greater success, mobile operators must identify multimedia core elements that will most effectively migrate them to a 4G network in the future.
Innovative solutions currently deployed around the globe meet many of the requirements of LTE, such as integrated intelligence, simplified network architecture, high bandwidth performance capabilities, and enhanced mobility. Some are capable of supporting 2G/3G today on a single platform, and through software upgrades can support 4G functionality when LTE networks are deployed. Such solutions can provide 2G/3G functionality now and evolve to 4G later without replacing systems and equipment required to support legacy networks while subscribers transition to the new network.
Key to creating and delivering high bandwidth multimedia services in 3G/4G networks and meeting subscriber demand, is the ability to recognize different traffic flows. This allows functional elements to shape and manage bandwidth, while interacting with applications to a very fine degree, delivering the quality of service required.
In order to facilitate introduction of 4G services in India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to deliberate various connected issues such as licensing, allocation and pricing of spectrum for such services. The objective is to prepare a consultation paper for wider deliberation leading to recommendations for the Government to take appropriate decision for Regulations by the Authority.
4G networks represent a major change in the way networks are built. They will signify the end of complex network architectures because new networks will be all-IP end-to-end.Â 4G will embrace a variety of mobile radio technologies along with WiFi and multimedia applications will start to take center stage. Applications that will drive the next build-out are ‘video’ in nature and foremost amongst them is mobile TV.
Service providers are gearing to deliver video content to consumers at the time of their choosing, the place of their choosing, and via the device of their choosing be it the TV, laptop computer, or mobile device. Assuming that 4G will arrive sooner than expected, mobile operators can start moving IP into the network setting the stage for tomorrow while saving money today.