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Guarant Your Future

with ALL-IP
Huawei ALL-IP Mobile Solution
Content

1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ...............................................................................1


2 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................1
3 INVESTMENT PROTECTION........................................................................4
3.1 2G/3G DUAL ACCESS CORE NETWORK IS NOT ENOUGH ..................................4
3.1.1 The long term co-existence of 2G and 3G ..................................................4
3.1.2 Avoid continuing investment in TDM...........................................................5
3.2 2G/3G CONVERGED CORE NETWORK ............................................................5
4 FUTURE ORIENTATION ...............................................................................7
4.1 LIGHT WEIGHT FMC SOLUTION ......................................................................7
5 NETWORK EFFICIENCY ..............................................................................8
6 OPEX REDUCTION .......................................................................................8
6.1 SITE RENTAL.................................................................................................9
6.2 TRANSMISSION .............................................................................................9
6.3 NETWORK PLANNING ...................................................................................10
7 SECURE AND SMOOTH NETWORK TRANSFORMATION ......................10
7.1 IP/TDM DUE TRANSMISSION MAKES THE MIGRATION SMOOTHER ..................10
7.2 QOS GUARANTEE .......................................................................................11
7.3 REDUNDANCY .............................................................................................11
8 CONCLUSION .............................................................................................12
Huaw ei ALL-IP Mobile Solution

1 Executive summary

Mobile communication is enjoying a rapid increase in both the


number of subscribers and in average minutes of use. This good
news is balanced by decreasing equipment life-spans due to
technology advances and reduced ARPU due to increased
competition from traditional and emerging companies. These
conflicting factors are forcing Mobile Service Providers to sharpen
their focus on the details of the network and the evolving needs of
their customers. In all areas, Service Providers are seeking to
maximize the value of network assets and increase their return on
investment.

Three areas that should become the focus of network planning, to


maximize value and increase ROI, are:
• Deploying future-oriented technologies as the network evolves
to extend the life of network assets.
• Increasing network efficiency to multiply the value per
investment unit.
• Simplifying network structure to bring down maintenance costs

This White Paper explores methods that have been adopted by


some of the most successful and fastest-growing mobile carriers
to lower their TCO, increase their flexibility and ensure that their
investments generate high-rate returns. Many of these benefits
flow from embarking on the transformation to an All-IP network
and this White Paper will also detail methods of ensuring a
smooth and secure migration of existing networks.

2 Introduction

Mobile networks are not just for voice calls any more. While the
growth in subscribers and the growth in voice traffic has been
substantial, it is about to be swamped by the growth in data traffic.
Music downloads, video downloads, video streaming, TV viewing,
Internet applications and picture uploads are driving the
movement of mobile data from the evolutionary GPRS and CDMA
low-speed data to the much faster EV-DO and HSPA “3G”
standards and shortly these will be too slow and WCDMA-based
networks will expand the data capabilities even more.

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Even without the data traffic, the growth in subscriber-generated


minutes of network use have caused mobile networks to grow
beyond initial design standards. The result has been increased
costs for both inter-connection facilities and for routine support
and administration. Quite frankly, the initial networks that were
deployed with “2G” standards, are just not able to scale up to the
voice requirements of current usage and they are not easily able
to grow to embrace the new data requirements. Even if the
equipment can be upgraded to support new data standards, it still
suffers from legacy issues that are embedded within the
equipment design. These issues result in growth bottlenecks
which require massive mesh inter-connections; increasing not
only equipment cost, but also the cost of building or leasing
transmission facilities that connect local communications centers.

These practical network issues, along with the requirement to


support future data traffic, have caused mobile Service Providers
to begin to look at alternative network structures. The outcome
of this work has uniformly resulted in decisions to begin migrating
to All-IP networks. The end of the journey is clear – All-IP from
the handset through the network. The question is how to move
from today’s networks to the agreed final answer.

The migration towards All-IP is divided into three stages. The first
step is to flatten the network structure by separating control from
the voice carriage and moving control to a centralized structure.
This is typically done by introducing softswitches in a transit layer
and deploying an IP backbone to carry the call traffic. In this way,
the existing MSC switches can be replaced by more cost-effective
media gateways. Following that, IP transmission is expanded to
the visited office functions to achieve end to end VoIP (voice over
IP) within the mobile network. The final stage is to embed IMS into
the core network, to provide multimedia based applications to end
users and achieve network convergence.

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Figure 1

The first stage in the All-IP migration is the most critical for network
operators because it provides the foundation for all future network
evolution. Many factors, including subscriber growth patterns,
date usage expectations and overall network reliability will be
critical in designing the new All-IP network. Probably the biggest
factor will be the introduction of an All-IP softswitch into the
network. Compared with a traditional MSS (MSC Sever), the IP
softswitch uses a unified IP network to carry the signaling and
traffic on all interfaces. This simplifies and flattens the network
structure. The migration to All-IP also ensures smooth network
evolution, from 2G to 3G and ultimately towards IMS (IP
multimedia subsystem), to maximize the value of network assets.

The Huawei mobile softswitch is a good example of an All-IP


solution. It uses 3G technology in a 2G/3G converged core
network and supports embedded FMC (fixed and mobile
convergence) solutions, which provides investment protection for
future stages of network evolution. The key attributes of the
Huawei softswitch are:
• Reliability – In addition to hardware reliability, which is
rock-solid, utilizing solutions such as MSC Pooling can greatly
increase the overall network reliability.
• Capacity – The one constant of mobile networks is that there
will continue to be more subscribers. The ability to support
large numbers of users in a small footprint, with the ability to
grow to tens of millions of users in a single system, provides

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great peace-of-mind.
• Flexibility – Current 2G users will migrate to 3G. Will you
have stranded equipment in your network?
• Voice Quality – Not all softswitches are created equal. Make
sure that you have the highest quality voice in a mixed 2G/3G
environment.

3 Investment protection
Mobile Service Providers are carefully scrutinizing all capital
expenses. In some cases, it is tempting to consider expanding
the network with existing technologies, rather than investing in
moving to an All-IP network. Unfortunately, such an investment is
likely to be wasted. Not only will the equipment not be compatible
with future networks, but it will be in the wrong location and space
will have been acquired needlessly. To protect the investment is
to make the network resource reusable in the future, which
protects future margins. This requires the network and technology
used to be future-oriented, in order to fulfill the demands on
network development and service deployment. Networks are
moving towards convergence and the services will be
characterized by multimedia applications. This is the major drive
for All-IP transformation.

When voice service is still the major source of income for operators,
investment protection focuses on constructing a 2G/3G converged
core network, in order to reduce the stranded investment as well
as the work load caused by network adjustment during evolution.

3.1 2G/3G dual access core network is not enough

3.1.1 The long term co-existence of 2G and 3G

Based on current deployments, 3G radio networks are more likely


to be used for hot spot coverage to provide high speed data access
and video services, while 2G is aimed to provide national-wide
roaming. 3G radios often utilize a high frequency channel, which
results in rapid attenuation and poor indoor coverage. On the other
hand, more than 90% of data access happens in indoor areas,
according to statistics.

To solve this conflict, subscribers can be preferentially anchored in


the 3G network. When a voice call is initiated and the signal of 2G

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radio network is better, which is usually the case indoor, handover


from 3G to 2G occurs. After the call is finished, the subscriber
remains in the 3G network. This solution guarantees the voice
service quality and the availability of high speed data services. This
model shows that the deployment of 3G will also require the
expansion of 2G network, instead of taking the place of it.

3.1.2 Avoid continuing investment in TDM

Even though the softswitch can handle 2G and 3G access at the


same time, it is not enough to achieve investment protection. In
many cases, the 3G access network uses IP transmission for data
applications, while the A interface for the 2G access network is
TDM based. This means that operators need to continuously invest
in TDM and maintain two transmission networks, which increases
the cost. On average, the investment in transmission takes
around 20% of the total CAPEX. Transmission sharing is required
between the two networks, to protect the investment.

3.2 2G/3G converged core network

The Huawei softswitch uses 3G architecture and technologies to


build a converged network. The first aspect is to use IP
transmission for signaling and voice on the A interface. The A
interface is between the 2G access and the core network. When a
large-capacity MGW is deployed, the MGW and BSCs will not
share the same site in most of the cases, which increases the
transmission distance. The usage of IP bearer can avoid the
increased cost on TDM resources and transmission sharing can be
achieved between all radio access network elements including
BSC and RNC.

The second aspect is to centralize transcoder resources. If TDM


transmission is still used for the 2G access network, the calls
between 2G and 3G terminals require a transcoder to perform
conversion between TDM and IP codecs. The same situation
happens during the handover between two access networks. The
support of IP transmission enables end-to-end codec negotiation,
which dramatically reduces the amount of transcoders needed. The
2G access network can further move the transcoder resources to
the core network, like the architecture of 3G, to achieve resource
sharing. Such a solution reduces the investment when deploying
3G.

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In this case, when 3G subscriber penetration is rising, hardware


replacement and capacity expansion is not required. Operators do
not need to allocate investment between 2G and 3G, the same
assets are used by two networks. The investment in TDM
transmission can also be avoided. With such a core network,
network planning becomes much easier. It is not necessary to
separately plan for network expansion to accommodate 2G and 3G
subscribers’ growth. All the users can be taken as a whole to share
the resource from call control, transmission and transcoder.

Figure 2

For end users, a 2G/3G converged core network can improve the
service quality and usage experience. For example, when a
subscriber is moving from 3G coverage to 2G in the middle of a call,
TrFO (transcoder free operation) can trigger codec re-negotiation.
This minimizes the possibility to perform codec transform, which
avoids the degrading of voice quality. Handover success rate is
also increased, because the risk of call drop due to there being a

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lack of transcoder resources is reduced.

4 Future orientation
Considering the migration towards IMS, there has been much
discussion of whether the softswitch stage is necessary. In other
words, whether a brand new IMS can be deployed and used to
replace the legacy core network gradually. However, due to the
rapid growth of mobile communication and IMS’s lack of
standardized support for voice services, a softswitch becomes the
common choice for this stage.

4.1 Light weight FMC solution

In terms of investment protection for this migration path, operators


might consider an embedded FMC solution. All the functionalities
and network elements of IMS can be integrated on a single blade
server. The blade server adopts standard interfaces and protocols,
which allows it to be embedded in a current core network. In this
case, the existing network becomes a functional entity of IMS
logically while IMS is integrated in the MSS physically.

Embedded FMC solution reduces the deployment cost of IMS in the


early stage, when capacity is not the major concern. Softswitch is
still used to provided voice and other real time services while the
IMS blade server is in charge of session control, resource
management and providing multimedia applications. Thus the
impact to the current network and services is minimized. Operators
can focus on creating the business model and cultivating the
high-end markets.

Apart from supporting long-term business development, the


softswitch plus IMS blade model will help carriers break into the
enterprise communication market. The fast growth of the enterprise
communication market has attracted industry-wide attention.
However, the existing telecom services are unable to meet the
enterprises' unified communication requirements. Therefore, the
enterprises needs to deploy an independent solution based on
private network, which isolates this part of market. Huawei’s FMC
solution combines mobile communications with broadband
communications, providing services such as multimedia
conferencing, presence, e-mail, voice mail and instant messaging.
A unique packet voice simulator function can deliver the
mobile-network-based services in a way which complies with

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traditional usage habits for fixed terminals.

5 Network efficiency
WIth current core network structures, each MSS has an isolated
service area. A subscriber’s location determines which softswitch
serves it. It is possible that network capacity is wasted implicitly due
to poor system efficiency under such a model. For example, a city
has a clear division between the business district and residential
areas, each served by a different softswitch. Both of the
softswitches need to have large enough capacity to accommodate
the traffic peak when people are gathering in one area. But they
only work at a high load level for part of the day. The uneven
distribution of subscribers results in unbalanced load on different
switches, which degrades the efficiency.

MSC Pool can handle this kind of situation. It combines the serving
area of multiple softswitches to form a common pool area. Each
switch controls the whole radio network. In this case, the
subscribers can be evenly allocated among the switches, in spite of
the location of each individual. Thus, load sharing is achieved. Even
when the subscribers gather in a small area, the traffic generated is
still distributed to different servers.

In general, each MSC server needs to have 30% redundant


capacity to deal with traffic peaks. After deploying MSC Pool, this
part of redundancy becomes unnecessary because the number of
subscribers serviced by each MSC will not fluctuate in a wide range.
In other words, the actual capacity of each MSC is increased.
Based on testing, when five MSCs with the same capacity
constitute a pool, the actual number of subscribers accommodated
by each is increased by 28%.

The MSC Pool solution of Huawei is implemented entirely within the


core network and does not require support from the access network.
This means that the access network does not need to be upgraded
or replaced. This will significantly reduce the deployment cost and
does not impact the openness of A interface. The access network
from any main stream vendor can be used directly to interwork with
a Huawei MSC Pool. The loose coupling with access network
makes MSC Pool ready for large scale deployment and retains the
flexibility of future network development.

6 OPEX Reduction
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Huaw ei ALL-IP Mobile Solution

All-IP softswitches can increase operators’ competitive edge, in


terms of OPEX saving. The OPEX of an IP softswitch based core
network is roughly 50% of that needed to operate a traditional
network of the same scale. Cost saving are contributed from the
following four aspects:

6.1 Site rental

The All-IP-based softswitch uses a distributed architecture which


separates call control from traffic switching. This significantly
increases the equipment capacity. Huawei’s softswitch supports
4680 thousand BHCA (busy hour call attempts). It means that,
under normal traffic, a single server can serve 3.2 million
subscribers. In this case, the number of MSC’s is reduced and less
space is needed to accommodate the equipment. These servers
can be concentrated in a few sites, saving rental and power
consumption.

6.2 Transmission

Another benefit introduced by a distributed structure lies in LCLS


(local call local switch). In most mobile networks, local calls account
for up to 60% of the total traffic. The calling and called party are
usually in the same area. When call control is centralized on a few
softswitches, a MGW can be placed near to the traffic source. Thus
this part of traffic can be switched within the MGW and will not enter
the transmission backbone.

IP based technologies make it possible to save transmission


resources. First of all, the use of compression codecs reduces per
call bandwidth, while codec negotiation mechanisms can keep the
voice quality high. Furthermore, voice activity detection can save
up to 40% of the transmission capacity. During a call, it is less likely
that both parties are talking at the same time. When it is detected
that one party is silent, the bandwidth of the sending channel can
be released until they start to talk again. As a result, in bi-directional
communication the bandwidth occupied can be reduced up to half.

Huawei’s MSS uses advanced compression technology which can


increase the transmission efficiency by a further 82%. This is
achieved via real time transport protocol (RTP) bearer compression
and multiplexing. In telecommunication, it is not necessary for each
IP packet to contain the full routing information after the connection

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has been set up. It is a straightforward alternative that the routing


information can be recorded in a table and replaced by a
corresponding index. In this case the size of the header becomes
much smaller and the proportion of payload is increased.
Furthermore, multiple packets can share the same header, which
achieves a higher compression ratio. Compared with traditional IP
transmission, four times more voice information can be carried on
the same bandwidth. Thus the capacity of IP backbone is
expanded.

6.3 Network planning

The deployment of an MSC Pool arrangement simplifies the logical


structure of the core network. The whole pool can be treated as a
single large switch in network planning. Operators do not need to
consider subscribers’ moving patterns and design the capacity for
each individual MSS. Network planning can simply focus on the
speed of subscriber increase and evenly distribute the capacity on
each MSC.

With the 2G/3G converged core network, operators do not need to


design 2G and 3G expansion individually. Neither should the speed
of user migration be taken into account. This makes network
planning much easier and more accurate.

7 Secure and smooth network


transformation
The major concern in network transformation is how to guarantee
the security of the migration towards All-IP and ensure the service
quality and reliability.

7.1 IP/TDM due transmission makes the migration


smoother

The replacement of a TDM bearer network with an IP backbone will


not be completed overnight. The project and investment is staged
and divided into multiple phases. Huawei’s softswitch supports
dynamic selection between TDM and IP transmission so that
load-sharing can be achieved. When the softswitch sets up a call,
the bearer type can be randomly selected according to a preset
percentage. In the early stages of the migration, this feature can be

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used to test the IP service quality, reducing the project risk. When
the IP backbone has enough bandwidth to carry the traffic stream,
TDM can be set as the backup. TDM trunks will only be used to
take over the traffic if the IP backbone has a failure or is heavily
loaded.

Bearer selection policy can also use the same type of transmission
when the call passes multiple switches. In this case when parts of
MSCs has been replaced by softswitches, the same type of bearer
will be used for the whole call path. Thus the frequent codec
transformation between TDM and IP can be avoided, which
improves voice quality.

7.2 QoS guarantee

One concern related to using an IP network to carry telecom


services lies in real-time transmission and service quality
guarantee. The concern relates to how to ensure the bandwidth
allocated for each call is adequate when multiplexing is introduced.
Here the softswitch can play an important role, and Huawei’s
softswitch is capable of monitoring the QoS (quality of service) in
real time.

By measuring the packages loss ratio, propagation delay, jitter, and


the CUP occupancy, the softswitch can estimate the congestion of
the network. When the figures reach preset thresholds, the network
is considered to be at capacity and flow control can be carried out.
Opportunities for flow control include:
• Using codecs with higher a compression ratio
• Rejecting service requests from high-bandwidth applications
With this real-time monitoring and dynamic flow control, the
softswitch can guarantee the quality of service and network
efficiency at the same time.

7.3 Redundancy

The deployment of large capacity softswitches puts a high


requirement on network reliability. Since the serving area and
subscribers are expanded, a system failure has a more severe
impact. More reliable network structures are required to bring down
the risk of equipment failure. MSC Pool and dual homing are two
techniques which can achieve redundancy at the VMSC (visited
MSC) and transit layer.

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Figure 3

As mentioned previously, MSC Pool puts multiple softswitches


together to share the load of each other. This is achieved by
randomly selecting an MSC of each individual subscriber, because
all of the MSCs serve a common area. This mechanism has
natural disaster recovery capability. If one softswitch is out of
service, the system is capable of selecting another one to handle
the service requests from subscribers. In this case, immediate
service recovery is achieved.

On the transit layer, the reliability of the toll traffic is guaranteed by


the dual-homing architecture. Dual-homing refers to the network
topology in which a MGW is connected to softswitches: one is the
primary server; the other is the standby one. If it is detected that
the primary server is down, the backup server will activate itself in
real-time and take over the job. This solution can shorten the
duration of manual switch-over and speed up the response to
network failures.

8 Conclusion
Huawei is helping operators maximize the network asset value, by
carrying out the transformation towards All-IP. The IP softswitch
provides investment protection during the migration from 2G to 3G
and then towards IMS, which can bring in continuous return for
operators. The solutions based on IP technology and resource
sharing can increase the network capacity as well as network
efficiency. Increased performance reduces construction investment
and reduces the pressure for expansion. In addition to CAPEX
(capital expenditure) savings, using a softswitch has advantages in
simplifying the network structure and reducing the number of call
control elements. The direct benefit is fewer site rentals, more
transmission capacity, less power consumption and less work load

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on maintenance and network planning. These contribute to OPEX


(operation expenditure) saving.

The long term benefits introduced by IP transformation have been


recognized by the industry. By leading the industry towards the
large-scale deployment of IP softswitches and the penetration of IP
technology, Huawei’s softswitch solution guarantees secure
migration from TDM to IP and IP-based service reliability as well as
higher quality.

With global deployment experience, Huawei is assisting more and


more operators to carry out the network revolution, which speeds
up the process of IP transformation.

Copyright©2008 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


The information contained in this document is for reference purpose only, and is subject
to change or withdrawal according to specific customer requirements and conditions.

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