Mobile data usage is accelerating as net books, laptops, smart phones, tablets, and machine-to-machine (M2M) modules usher in a new era of mobility across the world. Led by the ubiquity of the Internet and the proliferation of wireless technologies, mobile broadband is leading a transformation of connectivity and communications. In the next decade, more users and devices will connect via mobile than by traditional land line services. The impact on mobile operators is immense because the traditional mobile network was never designed to handle the massive amounts of data being consumed. As the mobile world moves to IP, operators are quickly deploying next generation radio technologies, such as HSPA+ and LTE, which require new spectrum and upgraded backhaul networks.
The core network has received less attention, and yet it is pivotal to carriers’ business models. Subscriber services – the key to generating additional revenue streams from this new data traffic – are built on the core network. Traditional packet cores have been built into voice-centric networks. The user experience was not built around the rich multimedia functions that are increasingly common today. Consequently, packet cores were not designed to handle the scale demanded by new usage patterns. A new generation of IP-centric architecture is needed to handle this demand. Carriers must scale their data networks to a much higher extent, avoid disinter mediation, and monetize the increased traffic as much as possible.
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