The main functionality in the service provider communication services (e.g. voice calls, messaging) spans the whole chain “client – user/network interface - service provider – network/network interface –service provider – user/network interface – client”.
Through virtualization techniques, the hosting service provider can deploy multiple VoLTE systems on the same shared data center hardware – while still guaranteeing separate, virtual networks. The resulting economy of scale is much more significant than any individual small-scale installation could achieve.
Components and characteristics
The services and their architecture will be reused for all 3GPP access also in 5G to provide services with guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS). These services can be combined in network slices with for example augmented reality/virtual reality applications.
The IMS Core contains the Call Session Control Functions, Interconnect Border Control Function and their related media plane functions that anchor, mix and process media streams. The application functions are providing IMS Multimedia telephony and IMS Messaging with SMS and MMS interworking.
Communication services in action
When placing the IMS network functions in a geographically distributed VoLTE network, it is the KPI's on call setup time and speech path delay that determine the distribution of the IMS control plane and IMS media plane functions since most calls are local.
Distance is "measured" in milliseconds and improved transport networks can enable higher degree of centralization in rural areas. The general rule of thumb is "Centralize what you can - Distribute what you must".
Communication services will prevail
The fundamental network architecture for calls, messaging, and other interoperable communication services is already in place, and this architecture will prevail for all 3GPP mobile access as we enter the 5G era. Migration of VoLTE network functions to cloud environments does not change this.
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