Next generation networks reduce costs, complexity

A deluge of data is drowning today’s enterprises, and only businesses with their own extensive next generation networks (NGNs) will be best equipped to meet that deluge. In the next few years, it is estimated that global IP traffic will reach the zettabyte threshold, and skyrocketing data isn’t about to let up.

Cloud, mobility, and the Internet of things (IoT) are all core areas of growth, and businesses and their customers will need more cloud capacity, more bandwidth, more voice data, and more services than ever before.

“This is where NGNs come in,” says says Eduard du Plessis, Managing Director of EOH Network Solutions, who describes an NGN as an IP packet based network which enables the deployment of access independent services over converged fixed and mobile networks. It provides overlay networks to support many different types of media such as VoIP/SIP, video, data and so on.

“Is is critical that organisations consolidate different types of media over their network by creating overlay networks via NGNs. This will not only reduce costs, but reduce their complexity,” he says. “NGNs are IP packet-based networks, and provide a foundation for consumers to connect anywhere and at any time.”

NGNs core network architecture is divided into three layers – transport, control and services. In addition, the network is centred around IP multimedia services, and features open and standardised interfaces between each of the layers; the control and services layers in particular, as this allows for third parties to develop services independent of the network. NGNs allow for protocols such as SIP and H.323 – based on the old ISDN standard – to transact over the network, and this in turn enables IPTV, VoIP and messaging to be easily integrated.

These benefits are the tip of the iceberg, explains Du Plessis. “In the future, NGNs will provide a platform for increased mobility and the IoT. It will also become the underlining network for the deployment of 5G, and will enable the bundling of services and protocols which will support more consumers and the increase in high bandwidth services.”

In addition, he says NGNs will support and enable the growth and increase in Virtual Network Operators (VNOS). “NGNs are fundamental to the industry movement to supply and support software defined networks (SDN) and software defined WANS (SD-WAN). There are several factors that are driving the need for NGNs, starting with an increase in bandwidth services.”

He explains that one of the main drivers of traffic growth is the number of new disruptive applications and services that are dependent on the large bandwidth provided by NGNs. In addition, the rise of social media and other communications platforms mean that businesses need to provide everywhere, and to everyone. “Then there’s the BYOD phenomenon that sees employees wanting to work from anywhere, on any device and with any application. Finally, the rise in unified communications is also a huge factor in the rise of NGNs, as it gives businesses the ability to use the same network for all services, voice, data, video and the rest.”

So what is needed by organisations when looking at implementing or using NGNs? “Firstly, they need to make sure they have the right network service provider, who uses the best hardware and software, and has the expertise needed. They should have a solid understanding of the media that will be traversing the network, and be able to build to scale and grow as needed because network content is growing rapidly,” Du Plessis says.

“NGNs bring many benefits: Reduction in operational costs, they provide a platform to speed up delivery and development of new services, and have the ability to deliver high-end multimedia services such as IPTV. In addition, they offer a simpler and more flexible introduction of new technologies, such as the convergence of media, new voice codec and protocols of QoS support through packet networks, as well as the development of VoIP-based technologies.”