Friday, August 05, 2011

Catching up on events - Lattelecom to go to IMS by 2017

Followup on the Tele2 fiasco
I have been remiss in updating this blog and there have been some noteworthy events that I will now belatedly relate.
First, I was more or less right about the cause of the big Tele2 crash on July 14. It was, as I said in a previous post, a “piecashit” gadget that brought down the house, but after talking to Tele2 technical director Ervīns Kampāns, the picture was a bit more complicated. What actually happened was that the system that was supposed to warn about a failure of the cooling system did itself fail, but not all the AC to DC transformers went down at once. When the first ones did, the UPS attached to the Nokia-Siemens core switch did kick in, but shared the power-supplying load with the diminished flow of current from the failing transformers. What resulted was that at some point, both the supply of current from the transformers and the UPS (which is intended to work for a short time until reserve generators kick in) was degraded and finally the core switch and all the complex systems it sustained crashed. It was, indeed, a perfect storm kind of event. According to Kampāns, Tele2 has now added additional backup and security systems, so that a repetition of the highly unlikely July 14 event is even more unlikely.
Lattelecom to go all IMS by 2017
On July 20, Lattelecom and China's Huawei announced they had signed an agreement to convert the entire Lattelecom fixed line network to run on IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) standards by 2017, with the first pilot tests to take place in early 2012. Migrating to IMS would expand the services available to fixed-line subscribers as well as offering them a kind of global mobility. Lattelecom would be one of the first telcos in the region to go all-IMS (globally, as far as I can see, there aren't too many other operators who have made a conversion, although IMS is used by some for a limited range of services)
People would be able to take their fixed-line Lattelecom numbers (actually, IP addresses attached to their handsets) anywhere in the world where there was a fixed or WiFi internet connection. Lattelecom CEO Juris Gulbis also told this blogger that the telco operator would develop applications for smart phones that would make it possible to call on the IMS network. With most Lattelecom subscribers on flat-rate, “free” calling plans, calls between two Lattelecom numbers anywhere in the world would cost only what the respective internet connection costs.
Technically, the move to IMS would mean eliminating most, if not all local switches and replacing them with two redundant switches to run the whole network. Existing copper landlines would be turned into DSL connections, while optical internet customers are already on the internet and would simply have their voice services upgraded to IMS.
The deal with Lattelecom is also another achievement for Huawei, which has succesfully challenged traditional infrastructure suppliers in the region, such as Sweden's Ericsson and the Finnish-German Nokia-Siemens. The project will be handled from the Chinese company's Swedisj office, which is located about a kilometer from Ericsson's headquarters in the Stockholm suburb of Kista.