As mobile telephony industry moves slowly but surely toward IP as its primary communications protocol, the GSM Association (GSMA) has launched initiatives to deal with the challenge that faces all communications providers: The traditional (legacy) interconnect model doesn’t work for IP traffic.
One of these is the PathFinder ENUM (telephone number mapping) registry service—essentially a database phone number lookup service that tells originating operators how to connect with terminating operators via the most direct possible route. The other is a set of standards and protocols for the cross-network exchange of media streams, signaling, even payments information, known the IPX or IP eXchange.
London-based XConnect, one of several organizations that has spent the past few years developing new interconnect solutions for IP communications—largely for the wireline side—recently announced that it has integrated the GSMA’s IPX standards into its interconnection fabric, thus creating a much more direct and efficient way for mobile operators—at least the membership of the GSMA—and XConnect’s federation members to exchange IP traffic—be it voice, HD voice, video, or ‘rich communications services’ (RCS—GSMA parlance for IM and presence).
“Our IPX offering provides operators a universal IP gateway through which to exchange multiple forms of traffic, bridging the gap between fixed and mobile networks,” said XConnect CEO Eli Katz told Enterprise VoIPplanet..
“We at XConnect have fully integrated our carrier ENUM services with the PathFinder service. That’s been a very successful relationship and it continues to be a very strategic partnership for us,” Katz said. “The IPX side of this was more an effort at enhancing and adapting our hub-based services—the XConnect solutions for federations—to enable that to be compliant with GSMA IPX standards.”
“Joining the growing IPX community will enable us to extend customer benefits, including lower costs, higher service quality, and revenue growth from delivering advanced services across networks,” Katz elaborated.
“The IPX—and in some respects, PathFinder—have been designed, from the GSMA’s perspective, to be not only a mobile play, but a play for fixed operators, Web 2.0 operators, et cetera,” Katz said. “While the key activity, at least initially, is likely to take place between mobile operators, the drive behind the GSMA’s vision is for this to become an underlying set of architecture and standards and services that is there to enable interconnectivity between fixed, mobile, and Web 2.0,” he said.
In addition to added efficiency—reduction of capital and operating expenses, transit charges, and resource requirements for managing peering relationships and maintaining network connectivity—the growth in IP community increases revenue opportunities for operators by facilitating the delivery of new and better services, such as HD voice, video, RCS, or even more cutting edge applications like Mobile Money, Katz stressed.
“There’s a whole stream of new services that we’re envisaging being enabled by this type of architecture and capability,” Katz concluded.