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Next Generation Networking
Next Generation Networking (NGN) is a broad term that refers to key architectural changes in telecommunication core and access networks that is projected to be deployed over the next 5-10 years. The broad idea is that in NGN, one network transports all information and services (voice, data, and all sorts of media such as video) by encapsulating these into packets, like it is on the Internet. Built around the Internet Protocol, that the term "all-IP" is also sometimes a reference to the transformation of current telecommunication services towards NGN.
As per the definition of the ITU-T :
A Next Generation Network (NGN) is a packet-based network able to provide services including Telecommunication Services and able to make use of multiple broadband, QoS-enabled transport technologies and in which service-related functions are independent from underlying transport-related technologies. It offers unrestricted access by users to different service providers. It supports generalized mobility which will allow consistent and ubiquitous provision of services to users.
From a practical perspective, NGN involves three main architectural innovations that are interesting to look at individually:
• In the core network, NGN implies a consolidation of several transport networks each historically built for a different service into one core transport network. It implies amongst others the migration of voice from a circuit-switched architecture (PSTN) to VoIP, and also migration of legacy services such as X.25, Frame Relay
• In the wired access network, NGN implies the migration from the "dual" legacy voice next to xDSL setup in the local exchanges to a converged setup in which the DSLAMs integrate voice ports or VoIP, allowing to remove the voice switching infrastructure from the exchange.
• In cable access network, NGN convergence implies migration of constant bit rate voice to CableLabs PacketCable standards that provide VoIP and SIP services. Both services ride over DOCSIS as the cable data layer standard.
The difference of NGN with previous technologies used in the telecommunication engineering is that there is a more defined separation between the transport (connectivity) portion of the network and the services that run on top of that transport. What this means is 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. Or to put it another way, services are more and more independent of transport details. This goes without saying that increasingly, applications, including voice, will 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).
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