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www.expresscomputeronline.com WEEKLY INSIGHT FOR TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS
10 July 2006  
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Home - Technology - Article

Tech Primer

Next Generation Networking

What is NGN?

Next 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 technology.

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?

Today’s 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 PSDN—consisting of network points of presence and remote access devices—is 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 months.

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 today’s 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 and—most importantly—pay 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 spoofing—using both registered and unregistered address space—is 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 for NGN.

For further details check
http://www.iec.org/online/tutorials/next_gen/index.html
http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/ngn/fgngn/index.html

 


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