Next Generation Networking
What is NGN?
Generation Networking, also known as NGN, is a common term used for emerging
computer network architectures and technologies. It encompasses data, voice
and video. NGNs are based on Internet technologies, including Internet Protocol
(IP) and Multiprotocol Label Switching. It is generally the convergence of infrastructure
and services, and integration of service offerings, with IP being the fundamental
NGN seamlessly blends the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and the public
switched data network (PSDN) creating a single multiservice network. Rather
than large, centralised, proprietary switch infrastructures, this next-generation
architecture pushes central office functionality to the edge of the network.
The result is a distributed network infrastructure that leverages new, open
technologies to reduce the cost of market entry, increase flexibility, and accommodate
both circuit-switched voice and packet-switched data.
What is the current scenario?
Todays network is divided into two elements: the PSTN and the PSDN. The
PSTN consists of large, centralised, proprietary Class-5 switches with remote
switching modules and digital loop carriers. This architectural configuration
has changed little over the last several decades.
In contrast, the substantially smaller PSDNconsisting of network points
of presence and remote access devicesis growing at a dramatic rate. The
growth of the PSDN is driven by the Internet, intranets, virtual private networks
and remote access. However, the PSTN continues to be the principal means of
delivering data services.
Many industry pundits claim that packet-switched voice will displace circuit-switched
voice in a matter of a few years. But despite the hype, voice over Internet
protocol has yet to establish itself to any significant degree. Further, if
packetised voice is actually to displace circuit-switched voice, a decade or
more will be necessary.
What are the benefits of NGN?
NGN allows the continuation of existing network as well as
inter-operability with the same network, while in parallel enabling the implementation
of new capabilities. Another big advantage of NGN is that it provides mobility.
It gives the user and devices the ability to communicate and access services
from different locations and different technical environments. In addition,
it gives the ability to communicate using a variety of terminal equipment, with
or without service continuity, while in transit or while changing access means.
With an open architecture certain, service providers can now develop an in-depth
expertise and come up with innovative offers. Operators thus have the best products
available while encouraging competition. Another advantage of an open architecture
is the improvement in the implementation of new services. Open technologies
make it possible to change a component and to implement a new service in a few
Next-generation switches are the most flexible platforms available. Combining
extreme scalability, an open service creation environment (SCE), remote management
and diagnostics, and the highest availability, next-generation switches provide
a migration path from todays switching architecture to a more cost-effective
and efficient, next-generation network architecture.
Another benefit of next-generation switches is their rich SCE. Typically a graphical
user interface, these SCEs allow carriers to develop, deploy andmost importantlypay
only for the services that their customers require.
What about security?
When we talk of NGN, security cannot be sidelined. Threats such as worms, viruses,
denial-of-service attacks and other malicious activities might degrade the network
or service stability. To ensure stability in the network, one should consider
network element security by providing strong security at the node level first.
Secondly, providing infrastructure security should be considered. IP spoofingusing
both registered and unregistered address spaceis the most common transport
vehicle for malicious activities. The third area is control panel security.
This protection includes both internal and external protection policies because
attacks originate from both ends.
Which companies are developing NGN?
Cisco, Nortel, Veraz, Avaya and AT&T are a few service providers in India
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