This talk is the best example I’ve seen yet of the total disconnect between the “Internet” crowd and today’s communications operators!
The opening session at Spring VON this morning was “Communications Networks of the Future and the Role of IMS” by Siroos Afshar, Network Architect, AT&T. Siroos provided a view completely at odds with any of the Internet folk I know. Indeed, he started by warning that by ‘network’ he does not mean the ‘Internet’ but rather the network of an operator who is offering services.
He said his first diagram was so high level there should be no controversy, and indeed, it has users, user devices, access technology, service middleware and service. And yet it doesn’t mention “Internet Access” as a service I might want!!! He does have a circle labeled “Your App.” Later he says the Internet is just another access technology to reach his Network.
In fact, it appears in later diagrams that his 'Internet access' means Cable or DSL networks that reach his middleware, not the ability to send IP packets to any other public IP address in the world. His functional units diagram includes “Peering with other networks” but only talks about IMS and VoIP peering, not IP transit. This is incredible! The words that go with this diagram are focused on services delivered by AT&T, not including access to what I know as the Internet.
IMS facts of interest (at least to me):
- He’s focused on IMS release 7 which makes sense, as release 5 was incomplete and probably would never have worked. Also IMS release 7 is the first version that actually merges the work of TISPAN with that of 3GPP.
- He recognizes that IMS only handles connection control and gives a large list (which I wasn’t able to copy in time) of other capabilities that AT&T requires. At a minimum, he calls out service creation environments as a big issue and, even larger, the operations, management and billing infrastructure which is needed beyond IMS.
The second question in the Q&A asked, “what if I want a service from somewhere else on the Internet?” His answer, “If you want to access other services elsewhere on the Internet, that’s fine. I was only talking about how AT&T plans to deliver AT&T services.”
Fair enough, but it was a surreal experience to hear this particular talk at VON.