NGN Summit 2017

NGN, an evolving story at the Global Summit on Telecom, ICT & IoT

By Nandita Singh

HYDERABAD: The Global Summit on Telecom, ICT & IoT opened today at Hitex Exhibition Centre in Telangana’s capital city Hyderabad, which has emerged as the close cousin of Bengaluru, India’s IT capital located in the neighboring state of Karnataka. The three-day Summit (February 13-15, 2017) focused on Next Generation Networks (NGN) opened with about 60 exhibitors including telcos, technology companies and start ups from the ecosystem. NGN was clearly on the agenda.

Dr V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog in his opening address highlighted how networks of the future will shape up in view of individual, business and social needs in the industry 4.0 era. “Network intelligence and cloud adoption,” are two main areas India is yet to see enough action stated Saraswat, who dwelled on how the networks are characterized by heterogeneity of devices and how speed, agility, simplicity, reliability, and trust remain critical yet difficult to achieve.

According to Saraswat, telecommunications today have two defining features, broadcast convergence and evolution of next generation networks and that IoT, services and content are three pillars of the Internet. Multi-service architecture is a given in this scenario, he explained outlining the direction networks are evolving with a roadmap leading up to 5G. He also emphasized that this roadmap is very much a part of government agenda. “It is estimated that by 2020, on an average there will be at least 8 connecting devices per person, and networks need to evolve to factor in this growth spurt,” he said. .

According to ITU-T, a next-generation network (NGN) is defined as a packet-based network which can provide services including telecommunication services, and is able to make use of multiple broadband, quality of service-enabled transport technologies with service-related functions independent from underlying transport-related technologies. It offers unrestricted access by users to different service providers, supporting generalized mobility, allowing consistent and ubiquitous provisioning of services to users.

In an NGN, there is a more defined separation between the transport (connectivity) portion of the network and the services that run on top of that transport. This means that whenever a provider wants to enable a new service, they can do so by defining it directly at the service layer without considering the transport layer – i.e., services are independent of transport details. Increasingly applications, including voice, tend to be independent of the access network (de-layering of network and applications) and will reside more on end-user devices (phone, PC, set-top box).

However, in India except RJio, a 4G only operator that launched its services in September 2016, all other telcos operate with a mix of technologies that coexist adding operational complexities and network coverage holes. “There is an issue of voice,” said Ravi Shankar, Additional General Manager at BSNL. He explained that there are technically conflicting requirements involved in the voice and data trade-off technologies, that operators need to choose from depending on their revenue mix, and that maintaining QoS (quality of services) accountability with operator itself is not technically feasible in case voice travels as an overlay over-the-top (OTT). He was outlining challenges that NGN need to deal with and find good answers for.

Rajesh Kumar, DIG Intelligence who is currently serving in Telangana was also one of the speakers on day one. He used the opportunity to highlight the privacy and cybersecurity paradox and its implications on the law enforcement function. There are no easy answers for many of these dilemmas though a number of deliberations are on to get to some level of understanding and consensus in many of these challenges.

The Summit opened with about 100 delegates in attendance at the conference co-located with the NGN exhibition at the Hitex Exhibition Center in Hyderabad, Telangana.

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