Back to home
Tel: 0845 33 000 93


Next Generation Networks – When is the right time?

It’s a cliché to say that the Telecoms industry is moving fast, but recently there have been a number of significant developments that have now cleared the way for a new generation of services that will change the way customers purchase their communications infrastructure. 8el believes it is well placed to help mid-sized corporates benefit from the cost and productivity benefits being promised.

Phil O’Keeffe, 8el’s Technical Director and co-founder expands:
"There has been much media attention given recently to 21st Century Networks (21CN) and Next Generation Networks (NGN), but what are they and what do they mean for the industry and business?
Put simply,‘Next Generation Networks’ is the industry buzz word for the latest technical developments that have been hitting the telecoms market place.""
Phil O'Keeffe

Existing operators and new companies alike are investing in new networks that carry voice and data over a single infrastructure; similar to the way 8el has been deploying it s services over the last 5 years. In the near future, we believe the technology of choice will be based around IP (Internet Protocol), which can transport voice, data and media over a single infrastructure. In fact, today this technology is already being deployed as voice over the Internet for home and small business users. (Albeit with concerns from some quarters about quality).

The real challenge is for operators to roll out business class services that deliver voice, data and media over an IP based network. Converging these services over the same infrastructure means bandwidth is more efficiently utilised via dynamic bandwidth allocation. To the business customer, this means a reduced total cost of ownership for their telecoms infrastructure.

Despite the cost benefits, converging telephony, video conferencing, Internet and data over a single infrastructure will expose your business to loss of services should a primary circuit failure take place. In addition to the need for resilience, Network Operators also face other challenges in deploying NGN’s. Typically, their 'pick and mix' approach to new technologies mean large parts of their network or VoIP (Voice over IP) services are outsourced to various third parties. This makes fault finding more complex and quality issues become very hard to track down and resolve. Furthermore, their approach means customers potentially have to write off investment in existing voice networks and infrastructure before deploying IP based technology.

How is 8el different?

8el’s technical team have over 5 years experience in delivering high quality, resilient voice and data communications over the same infrastructure. With our skills and experience, we are deploying IP networks, which run over Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), our preferred protocol. Recent customer examples include Morgan Cole, Mori and Giffords.

When companies run multiple services over a single infrastructure it is important to use a Quality of Service (QoS) enabled network for both the core and tail elements. QoS provides traffic prioritisation and predictable latency, this is key to ensuring the quality of time sensitive applications, such as voice.

NGN’s are built using an MPLS core network, which is similar to ATM but provides a more efficient transport for IP. However, QoS to the customer’s site is dependent upon tail technologies, such as Frame Relay, but not MPLS. From its inception, 8el has realised the need for QoS and has deployed ATM, as it is the only technology to provide true QoS right to the customer’s site.

What are 8el’s differentiators for NGN services?

8el’s NGN technical strategy involves launching VoIP and IPCentrex Services (Centralised Telephony functionality) in early 2006. At present, we are technically evaluating the core hardware required to deliver these 21CN services. Key equipment includes an appropriate Softswitch, Media gateways and specialised routing hardware.

Also key, is the need for specialised Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) that forms part of 8el’s unique offering. Known as an IPfreeport, this will exclusively allow 8el customers to benefit from VoIP/Media services with very little risk. This is because the IPfreeport allows customers to run VoIP alongside their existing telephone system. Therefore, customers can trial VoIP without any need for a ‘Big Bang’ deployment across the company. Furthermore, by allowing companies to keep existing voice services, a backup route is in place providing resilience should the customer direct circuit fail. To add to that, much in the same way that 8el’s existing freeport CPE facilitates sophisticated network monitoring capabilities; the new IPfreeport will also provide valuable visibility of the network for proactive fault finding.

What to do next

You may already be working on a communications strategy for next generation networks, however gaining a full understanding of the risks, opportunities and costs may be proving a challenge.

8el is currently running a Next Generation Road Show to help businesses build a strategy and gain a understanding of how 8el’s approach has been designed to deliver the benefits of NGN without the risks.

If you would like to see the 8el Next Generation Road Show please Request a call and we will contact you today. Alternatively, call 0845 33 000 93.

To discuss your communications needs, please call 0845 33 000 93. Alternatively, send an email to [email protected]