To fully understand the impact of smartphones, especially Apple’s (News - Alert) iPhone 5, and the emerging 4G LTE on the communications landscape, Xconomy’s National IT editor Gregory T. Huang recently met with the founders of Bedford, Mass.-based Internet Protocol (IP) networking company Acme Packet. CEO Andy Ory and chief technology officer (CTO) Patrick MeLampy founded the company in 2000, which has been on a rollercoaster ride for last 12 years.
Acme Packet offers session delivery network solutions to enable next-generation voice, data and unified communications services and applications across IP networks. Its IP based network solutions are used by over 1,850 customers in more than 100 countries. It is now working on extending the technology to help mobile operators, Internet service providers and enterprises handle communications in the cloud — voice and video over IP, as well as other services — more securely and efficiently.
As the founders updated the Xconomy editor on Acme Packet’s strategy in the mobile and enterprise sectors, the discussion shifted to the future of Internet communications and telecom. Acme Packet’s CEO Ory told Huang, “The two biggest things that have happened in our lives, from any type of communications perspective, are the Internet and the mobile phone.” He added, “Apple’s iPhone (News - Alert) 5, and LTE in general, represents the true convergence of those two trends. I think that’s going to be very, very profound. It’s going to change the communications landscape globally for the service providers and for the enterprise.”
Why is that? “Architectures and business models change when you hit the Internet,” Ory continued. “So I think you’re going to see the largest communications service providers in the world undergo transformations of architectures, technologies, business models, relationships with customers, and brand. We talk about it as the end of telecommunications and the rise of IP-communication service providers — and they’re all going to be cloud providers.”
In other words, wrote Huang, Ory sees wireless carriers changing their entire network infrastructure over to IP-based technologies. Acme Packet sells IP-based “session border controllers” that sit at the edges of private networks to reorganize data packets as they move around the Internet.
As per this report, the idea behind a session-based approach is to create semi-permanent paths to help smooth IP communications for things like multimedia; the technology can be of use both to service providers and to big enterprises that send a lot of data around the world. “We’re engaged in 25 to 30 different carrier discussions about what they’re going to do with LTE (News - Alert). You will see a number of them launch in 2013,” Ory stated.
Taking the discussion further, CTO MeLampy told the editor that the world’s 5.9 billion mobile phones currently use different networks and radio equipment to handle voice and data. That’s expensive and inefficient. “Long term, LTE will prevail,” asserted MeLampy. “Carriers need to cost their costs. LTE is dramatically simpler and cheaper to run,” according to the CTO.
As the traditional telecom equipment suppliers like Alcatel, Lucent, Ericsson (News - Alert), Nokia, and Siemens start to contract and as the center of power moves into Asia, it is going to have longer-term ramifications, Acme Packet founders concluded.
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Edited by Rich Steeves