IPX: The future is here

Matthew Tonkin, Sybase 365
13 Aug 2010

The telecom industry has been undergoing a revolution, sparked by mobile broadband. The proliferation of devices and services have created a massive upsurge in 3G data - sometimes at the expense of voice capacity and quality.

With operators also rolling out 4G networks with IMS infrastructure, they will need to rethink the deployment of cross-operator capabilities, and how to integrate and evolve existing and popular services such as SMS and MMS.

The problem with today’s internet is that it is too much of a best-effort network. The industry needs a dedicated, semi-public, network infrastructure for high-value data transport that is not subject to the various trials and tribulations of an open internet. With the open internet subject to more and more services, applications, and with the growing use of mobile devices, there is also a distinct need to create a hub-based capability that serves the network operator community as well as enterprises.

The GSMA believes that its IPX model is the answer, as it “will respond to the needs of... key stakeholders to manage IP traffic flow and support a sustainable business interworking solution.”

An IPX is an IP network interconnect service that is offered by a variety of providers. While these providers compete with each other, they share common agreed technical specifications.

As a transparent IP network that is not addressable from the internet, the IPX provides a secure environment. Commercial agreements give protection to all parties, and a strict security code of conduct must be followed by all. Individual operator traffic is also segregated and end-user devices have absolutely no visibility to the IPX.

The IPX also provides flexibility of interconnection, with a choice of bilateral and multilateral connectivity. This enables a multiplicity of services from simple, secure bit-pipes, to complex, hub-based connections.

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