There are a number of companies experimenting with, developing, trialing, and rolling out convergence technologies. Certainly, the debate is ongoing as to whether fixed/mobile convergence is as desirable as many vendors make it out to be, but one thing is clear: There are enough proponents to build a business case for developing the technologies.
One of the technologies that has recently received a boost from the focus on FMC is the femtocell, which is designed to enhance in-building connectivity by enabling the routing of cellular signals over IP
networks. The usefulness of this is obvious, as mobile carriers can save on costs while introducing new services. Subscribers benefit from enhanced coverage in buildings where they might otherwise have spotty connectivity or even drop calls.
Tatara Systems, which develops convergence platforms to address just these situations, has been partnering with femtocell
manufacturers to provide a complete convergence solution. Indeed, during a recent visit with Tatara, TMC (News - Alert) learned that Tatara was working on several new femtocell partnerships, among them ip.access.
ip.access develops femtocells (as well as picocells), and the newly agreed partnership between the two companies will integrate ip.access’ Oyster 3G
femtocell with Tatara’s Mobile Services Convergence (News - Alert) portfolio, offering mobile providers access to SIP-based IP networks to extend their coverage.
“Mobile operators are keen to deploy femtocells in today’s networks, and are exploring a range of options for bridging the gap between current 3G technologies and the full availability of IMS
at some point in the future,” said Nick Johnson, CTO of ip.access. “We are delighted to be working with Tatara Systems to provide flexible options for femtocell deployment.”
Using industry standard protocols, the Oyster 3G will join with the mobile operator’s core network by way of Tatara’s Convergence Server, which extends mobile voice and messaging services into an IP network. Tatara has designed its components for use in nearly any network arrangements, including IMS and pre-IMS deployments, to make single number/single device communications a reality using installed broadband access networks.
The benefits to both Tatara and ip.access are clear here — each gains access to the other’s technology, which will provide a powerful convergence solution for the market. But, on a larger scale, the agreement is further proof that convergence, in general, and femtocell technology, specifically, will continue to develop, paving the way for cellular-based fixed/mobile convergence opportunities.
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and SIP Magazine. Prior to joining TMC, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.
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