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About this book

This book shines a spotlight on software-centric networks and their emerging service environments. The authors examine the road ahead for connectivity, for both humans and 'things', considering the rapid changes that have shaken the industry.

The book analyses major catalytic shifts that are shaping the communications world: softwarization, virtualization, and cloud computing. It guides the reader through a maze of possible architectural choices, driven by discriminating and sometimes conflicting business considerations. The new ICT capabilities lead us toward smarter environments and to an ecosystem where applications are backed up by shared networking facilities, instead of networks that support their own applications. Growing user awareness is a key driver towards the softwarization process.

Softwarization disrupts the current status quo for equipment, development, networks, operations and business. It changes radically the value chain and the involved stakeholders. The dilemma is between a 'slow burn' traditional step-by-step approach and a bold transformation of the whole infrastructure and business models. This book is essential reading for those seeking to build user-centric communication networks that support independent agile and smart applications.

“The book gives an insightful account of modern telecom networks, pinpointing the radical transformations of the last 20 years. This is the perfect read for those who are interested in the grand challenges of networks and in the socio-economic reasons why the telecom industry to embrace the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems.”

Prof. Antonio Liotta, Eindhoven University of Technology

“This book fulfills an urgent need to thoroughly analyze the entanglement of network and software architectures by taking into account the increasing softwarization. It highlights important issues behind today’s business models and opens the road for sustainable future approaches to provide user appreciated valuable services.”

Dr. Eng. Hendrik Berndt, former CTO of NTT DOCOMO Communications Laboratories Europe

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction

This chapter outlines the context, motivation, contributions, and organization of this book. This book aims to discover the right architecture for the emerging types of services and the constantly evolving technologies that are rewriting the whole landscape. The main focal question is whether the telecoms industry is undergoing a structural transformation or a consolidation towards smart environments. The paradigm shift is triggered by three major tectonic plates: the evolution of essential technologies; the metamorphosis of the ecosystems and the value chains; and the advent of new classes of services.
Roberto Minerva, Noel Crespi

Chapter 2. Service Control Paradigms and Network Architectures

Telcos’ viewpoint is “Network is King”. Webcos’ viewpoint is “Service is King”—the web client and its services are the center points. However, it is not easy to define what “service” is: a bunch of resource; collection of tasks; particular interactions and semantics; or all the above. By exploring the concepts of service, we can see how services and their definitions evolce, and how their gravity center shifts to unfamiliar zones. The service control is shifting from client–server interaction mode to more open but perplexing peer-to-peer mode. This has a knock-on transforming effect on service structure, message channeling, parallel processing, etc.
Roberto Minerva, Noel Crespi

Chapter 3. Technological Evolution of the ICT Sector

We have not reached the cusp of technology evolution yet. Fresh innovations are lined up for disrupting established ‘‘mainstream’’ technologies. Exploring technology evolution provides clues to the next wave of transformation and strategic decisions. Data centers technologies demonstrate how service ‘‘factories’’ can merge client–server front end, with an elaborate distributed computing and cloud behind, but also illustrate that the technological gap between Webco and Telco offerings is increasing due to web agility and DIY attitudes.
Roberto Minerva, Noel Crespi

Chapter 4. The New Network

The future network must gear up to cope with massive data growth, but also provide what is not available on the Internet today—security, reliability, mobility, and predictability. Current Internet structures have become too rigid, and overlay solutions result in complex management. Hence, the future Internet network is evolving as a complete new concept, which segregates the network layers (Infrastructure, Resources, and Application), allowing for virtualization and software-defined networks (SDN) to be applied.
Roberto Minerva, Noel Crespi

Chapter 5. Emerging Services

Information technologies, such as cloud, IoT, virtualization and smart environment, shape new business. Traditional services (e.g., RCS) fail to get traction, compared with new cloud opportunities. While voice migration to webRTC offers low payback, there is more scope in acting as storage providers or data broker. Although “cloud + network” is challenged by major web cloud providers, Telcos can still offer federated clouds solutions to large enterprises and vertical markets.
Roberto Minerva, Noel Crespi

Chapter 6. TelCos Approach to Services

Telcos have been in charge of network access, control, and intelligence for many decades, but the service ‘webification’ has left them unable to compete in the service arena. Now, Operators seeking to transform the service layer, as well as the Voice session control, find that IMS will only help to migrate traditional services. The IMS framework does not offer a web-like application layer, but only a SIP-based interface to application servers. While it is suitable for large Voice systems, the session controller restricts the logic flow, unlike web applications that are free to initiate and integrate other services. Even the combination of IMS and SDP is not agile enough to give operators the competitive edge that they need.
Roberto Minerva, Noel Crespi
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