12 Jul 2010
When each service lived in its own access network -- that is, when customers watched video only on a television -- it wasn't disastrous for operators to use a medley of telecom network monitoring tools that were proprietary to each vendor's equipment. But the confluence of fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), quad-play strategies and a push toward more advanced IP-based services will require carriers to simplify network monitoring with a converged console.
"The need for integrated equipment is going to rise. There are a lot of benefits of using integrated solutions, such as cost savings, the convenience of working with one vendor instead of several, and also interoperability issues," said Olga Yashkova, a research analyst at Frost & Sullivan. "Service providers are looking for open solutions that are capable of providing multiple testing and monitoring [tools] to be easily integrated into service quality management systems."
A few recent mergers and acquisitions among third-party telecom network monitoring and testing vendors point to a move toward more integration, Yashkova said. Canadian vendor EXFO expanded its converged IP testing portfolio by acquiring Brix Networks in 2008 and its wireless testing portfolio with Nethawk earlier this year, she said.
Empirix, which, according to Yashkova, has led the market in voice over IP (VoIP) network monitoring for the past six years, recently acquired an Italian vendor, Mutina, to expand its portfolio into video, broadband and wireless network monitoring. The company has begun to remarket itself to quad-play providers and change the conversation from monitoring networks to services.
"You want to say to your subscribers, 'You've now got the ability of ordering a movie or watching a sporting event and to start watching it at home and then take it outside with your iPad … and continue watching that but having that movie or sporting event on your LTE network,'" said Steve Kish, vice president of marketing of the service assurance business group at Empirix. "You need to have the unified presentation of how they watch the video across two different networks."