Modeling the impact of fixed-mobile converged broadband aggregation architectures on Service Provider Capital Expenditures
Mobile traffic has been growing at exponential rates in recent years, fuelled by increasingly sophisticated end systems such as the Apple iPhone. This trend is expected to continue over the next 5 years. The Cisco Visual Networking Index forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 131% in the period between 2008 and 2013. This study forecasts that the traffic is becoming increasingly focused on mobile video, mobile data and mobile peer-to-peer.
Existing mobile network architectures are challenged by such growth rates. Mobile Aggregation and Core Network Architectures follow predominantly the centralized paradigm, where traffic from mobile users is backhauled using carrier-ethernet technologies towards a few mobile data centers. These then offer the necessary gateway, billing and accounting and mobility management functionalities. Such architectures have proven cost-effective for low bandwidth mobile traffic rates, but may be significantly challenged by the traffic evolution shown above.
Many mobile Service Providers are looking to deploy long-term evolution (LTE) based services in the near future. This evolution offers the possibility of adopting a new mobile aggregation architecture, for example by distributing mobile gateway functionality further out into the network (closer to mobile subscribers) or by potentially off-loading traffic into the Internet in the RAN Aggregation locations.
Furthermore, some Tier-1 SPs with both mobile and wireline broadband services are considering fixed-mobile convergence strategies, where carrier-ethernet based aggregation networks are used to aggregate both mobile and wireline broadband data services. This is motivated by the similarities of such services from the perspective of authentication, authorization and accounting, lawful intercept, network-address translation (NAT), or portal solutions.
We invite proposals to model future fixed-mobile converged aggregation network architectures, allowing for the flexible placement of various network functions (gateway, broadband, firewall, Session border controller etc.) at different levels of the aggregation hierarchy. Such an evaluation should take the anticipated traffic volume and patterns, as well as different networking equipment and link bandwidths into account. The model should enable the evaluation of different FMC architectures from a CAPEX perspective. Questions such as should all be addressable by the model.
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