The issue of Internet Protocol-based network-to-network interfaces (IP-NNI) is one that's proving to be rather complex by any stretch, and as such is requiring some closer looks to be taken in aid of getting all the issues hammered out. To that end, a major new joint task force operation is in the works, featuring elements of not only ATIS, but also the SIP Forum, that will help to get some of these issues appropriately wrangled and the larger picture made much clearer overall.
At last report, the joint task force's goals were to aid in the interconnection of the various providers at the IP level, which in turn will provide the necessary foundation for the widespread rollout of advanced communications technologies like voice and video calling as well as multimedia text messaging. But at the same time, while this is in the works, the wider industry is facing some clear difficulties of its own in an attempt to move from a public switched telephone network (PSTN) to one driven by IP and session initiation protocol (SIP).The still widely-used PSTN is putting something of a damper on advancement overall, thanks to some issues within a PSTN's time division multiplexing (TDM) facilities, so many are eager to see the PSTN phased out and replaced with its more advanced counterparts in IP and SIP alike.
While ground is being gained on that front, especially as service providers are increasingly finding it necessary and even advantageous to set up interconnection systems, but this is usually done on a case-by-case setup, and this in turn can be inefficient, with a lot of the same ground being gone over. Getting an industry-wide interconnection standard, meanwhile, would reduce a lot of this and lead in turn to not only more efficient operations, but under the right conditions, better bottom line impact as well.
Word from Richard Shockey, chairman of the SIP Forum, offered up the group's take on the overall situation, as Shockey said “The communications industry has an outstanding record of making seamless technology transitions. North American carriers continue to invest in upgrading their networks at an unprecedented pace. The SIP Forum and ATIS are committed to a multi-stakeholder, consensus-driven process among our members to achieve ubiquitous interoperability of these systems. The goal is better, faster and less expensive network operation and new service creation.” Meanwhile, word from Susan Miller, ATIS' CEO and President, describes a clear design of making both SIP and IMS interconnection a strictly “plug-and-play” operation.
Most any time there's a significant shift in technologies, there comes along with that shift a significant amount of difficulty in moving older systems up to the new system. It's not only difficult, it's often also expensive, and with businesses of all stripes watching the bottom line carefully, getting businesses to sign off on major moves like this requires a lot of work. It requires a clear commitment to minimizing expenses, but also if possible demonstrating value to the bottom line. The new task force looks well on its way to making those crucial demonstrations, and providing not only the necessary information, but also valuable new techniques and tools to help make the rollouts smoother overall. That's the kind of benefit that most any business can get behind, and this task force may well help the PSTN make a quiet move out of the limelight to make room for the new breed.