Perhaps a Bit Slowly, IMS Advances Continue

Carl Weinschenk

The number of networks, devices and applications is exploding, and there is a pot of gold -- a very large pot of gold -- awaiting the vendors who do the best job of allowing data and applications to seamlessly flow between them all.


Qualcomm and Nortel have taken a step in the right direction. InformationWeek reports that the companies claim to have successfully tested IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) gear at Nortel's Ottawa research facility. IMS is a family of protocols deliver data and applications to any device riding on wired, wireless and cellular networks.


Nortel's Voice Call Continuity (VCC) application uses a chipset from Qualcomm. The network application will be available during the first half of next year and end point devices with VCC functionality around midyear.


Descriptions of IMS tend to be conceptual and hard to understand. This YouTube video provides a good graphical illustration -- albeit from one company's perspective -- of the types of services that IMS makes possible. The Altcatel presentation features unified messaging capabilities, but the presentation clearly drives home the theme that IMS enables ubiquitous coverage of networks and devices.


This commentary at Martin's Mobile Technology Page will be more meaningful to folks who have followed the world of IMS. It deals with the business dynamics driving its potential adoption. Third-party services that run over other networks -- such as digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable operators' modems -- provide solid service. This tends to dampen the drive toward IMS, which is a more "elegant" solution because it is integrated into the core of an operator network. Indeed, the rollout is slower than expected. IMS has a promising future nonetheless, the writer says, because it provisions applications in the core of the network, which ends up being easier for end users.


Development continues. Last month, Veraz Networks and Alvarion announced plans to deliver a system that will use IMS to guarantee quality of service (QoS) for multimedia services over WiMax. The release says the companies have completed interoperability testing between Alvarion's BreezeMax WiMax platform and three Veraz products: the ControlSwitch User Service Core, the ControlSwitch Interconnect and I-Gate media gateways.

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