Manhasset, N.Y. Hoping to ease operators' migration to next-generation Internet Protocol-based networks while supporting their legacy nets, Convergin Inc. this week will announce the Accolade Wireless Convergence Server. Based on the session initiation protocol (SIP), the WCS platform connects cellular and IP networks and provides the intelligence required to bring together mobility, access and service domains for a converged fixed-to-mobile network.
Fixed-to-mobile convergence is already well under way at the transport level, with soft switches deployed at the network crossroads, said Ayal Itzkovitz, president and chief executive officer of Convergin (Herzliya, Israel), formerly called PhoneDo Networks. The name change coincides with the Accolade announcement as the company emerges from stealth mode.
Other efforts, such as Unified Mobile Access (UMA), are also helping to provide seamless mobility for Wi-Fi-to-GSM voice calls. "But UMA doesn't provide for the extra services [beyond voice]," said Itzkovitz. The move to Internet Protocol Multimedia Service (IMS), he said, increases the need for improved network intelligence at those network crossroads to support the many advanced services currently available and coming down the pike.
Support for IP-based networking must be provided in tandem with support for legacy networks, Itzkovitz said, estimating the latter will play an integral role for at least 10 years before the phaseout starts in earnest. "What we offer is a means for operators and service providers to define a way of evolving their network and invest in IP services while still supporting their legacy investment," he said.
Residing at the core of the network, the Accolade server allows the replacement of mobile switching centers (MSCs) with SIP-based call servers and soft switches. The approach unifies service delivery via SIP application servers across SIP and mobile clients and is said to enable access-agnostic mobile services across Wi-Fi, cellular or other IP-access schemes. "It ensures seamless service continuation," said Itzkovitz. He defines this type of core-network evolution as SIP mobile convergence, which he said goes way beyond single identity and voice-over-IP.