The Next Generation network evolution

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

If you're a regular reader of telecoms press then you can't have failed to see the term Next Generation Networks (NGNs) in almost every article you read. In an industry, where a culture of over promising and putting elegant technical solutions before real customer needs has been par for the course, you'd be right to be suspicious of some of the tall claims NGNs say they can deliver. But take a big breath; for once the hype is justified. NGNs are the real deal. In the next few paragraphs, I want to cut through the marketing spin and give you a feel of what NGNs are and what promises they offer to enterprises today.


Let's start by examining the need for NGNs. We all know that the ever increasing demand for bandwidth continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Applications such as IP voice and IP video conferencing which are becoming the norm, along with the trend to consolidate and virtualise servers from the branch to the data centre, are driving colossal bandwidth requirements. Secondly, for many businesses, running two or more legacy networks can be very costly (each requires individual maintenance contracts, separate pieces of kit etc) and legacy IP networks prohibit the growth organizations are looking at in current times. In a year where recession has been at the door, the desire to risk an upgrade could be all the more daunting but there is a way forward.

The move to NGNs represents the next logical and evolutionary step in technological progress under which existing telecom networks are upgraded with more modern and efficient technology. The NGN is not just about a new network — it is as much about cost-efficient provisioning and giving you the platform that can run the advanced IP-based applications that businesses need to continue to grow. Enterprises stand to gain by looking for service providers that can deliver true next-generation communication solutions enabled by a multi service platform. One of the primary goals of NGNs is to provide a common, unified, and flexible service architecture that can support multiple types of services and management applications and are access agnostic — you can use any access method to gain connect to the network.

In addition, a unified and consistent NGN approach will help reduce costs by eliminating the inefficiencies of current service-specific, proprietary, and non-reusable solutions. While NGNs are mainly aimed at big businesses who want real-time access to new multimedia applications, it is also critical to work closely with customers to help define and deliver the next-generation service experience they deserve. At Cable&Wireless, our approach is very different —we want to help our customers get more out of their telecom spend and NGNs are one of the best ways to help them achieve that.


Need for NGN

Business networks are complex, as they have grown with businesses over time. Network elements added for specific purposes can leave organizations with a mismatched set of networks that are difficult and expensive to manage. In most situations, these existing networks are extended as far as they can go. Performance of essential applications is sometimes difficult to assess because of poor management tools. Usually the decision to add new supporting applications can be very difficult to make.

To solve these problems, businesses are moving to single networks with the capability and flexibility to meet all their needs. The potential cost savings with the right next-generation IP network makes the business case for using just one network possible. With and NGN, you can get the best from your applications, host them in a single data centre, prioritise, measure and manage their performance.


In the past, in the global network, countries were connected through under-sea cables as they are today however, once they hit dry land, organizations had to use multiple ways to communicate; one platform for voice, one for cable and another platform for the Internet. The customer might also receive all these services from multiple vendors, and any one of the networks might be a cause for concern. We have developed our Multi Service Platform (MSP), so that we have one single connection that comes to the customer, and on this one single connection the customer can get their voice, data and Internet, so there is no need to invest separately in all these services.

When a customer has three different connections to address his requirements, one for voice, one for Internet etc, the usage of the three connections is not the same and can vary between 30 — 50% utilization leaving a lot of unused capacity in the networks. This can be overcome by integrating all these connections into one connection, thereby optimizing the infrastructure and getter higher usability. NGNs can also manage scalability depending on the requirements of the customer and deliver a cost benefit as organizations are only managing one network, rather than three.

NGNs are also highly resilient providing sub-second reconvergence times and companies like Cable&Wireless, roll-out these network with inbuilt resilience, meaning that should a network fault or break occur, the traffic is rerouted over another part of the network, minimizing downtime for customers.


NGN Benefits

Fast and affordable

NGNs are built to handle a variety of technologies; they are built Ethernet ready and able to handle large bandwidths, with far better economies than on legacy networks. Having this speed available reduces the risk involved in changing or upgrading applications.



NGNs simplify network structure, introducing fewer but more powerful nodes compared with traditional circuit-switched nodes. By separating the control layer from the connectivity layer, new points-of-presence can be implemented safely, rapidly and cost effectively.

Scalable and sure


Our network is designed in such a way so that we can give customers soft changes, when needs grow. The network design gives a minimum of 99.999% availability. The design features built in redundancy, failover in the event of a network fault, and fault recovery in a fraction of a second. It has been engineered to carry the highest class of voice traffic. Scalability enables organizations to ramp up very quickly and utilize the services as needed as opposed to the traditional model of investing in additional hardware or resources to anticipate increased capacity.

Better application performance

With our Application Performance Management (APM) or APM acceleration, enterprise-wide applications run over the wide area network (WAN) as if it were a local area network (LAN). This means you can host applications in a single data centre, reducing your costs through simplified operations and minimizing your carbon footprint.


Converged and multi-service

Integration of layer 2 Ethernet and Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP VPN) over the same core and access architecture means lower costs for the delivery of multiple services. Not only can the Cable&Wireless MSP run different converged services it's also more robust, recovering from network faults in a fraction of a second.

Local and global

All MSP services can be used internationally, ready to serve branches or offices overseas. Clients can run high availability multiple service data networking across the same architecture, reducing the cost to run networks.

NGN & Cloud Computing

NGN is also critical to making cloud computing (and related services) a reality. According to the IDC Asia/Pacific End-user Cloud Computing Study, which was conducted in January 2009, 34% of respondents agreed that they saw an increase in the relevance of cloud services to their organizations as a direct result of the global downturn.

Cloud computing is effectively an alternative to an on-premise solution that involves securing computing power, and tapping into a cloud for hardware usage of software without the standard license-based models. Effectively cloud encompasses software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

We see cloud computing as the opportunity to deliver value-added managed telecom services via global private networks or cloud. Customers increasingly prefer the ease and convenience of not having to bother about infrastructure investments and making utility based payments for their IT services and applications.

Managed services and infrastructure provisioning are readily available in next-generation networks to support enterprises' growing appetites for information and services. For greater cost efficiencies, CIOs will have to look at these emerging services to better manage their budgets and improve their information infrastructure's level of performance, availability, capacity and agility.

Sunanda Das

MD, Cable&Wireless India