Carriers are continuing to invest significant time, effort, and resources into their network transformation initiatives, but few have gone beyond lab and early field trials of the key technology elements, such as IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem). The absence of commercially available services, delivered via next generation networks should not be construed as a failure of the technology or of the carriers themselves, but a measure of the complexity and scope of what these new services can provide. In some cases, they replace a wireline physical infrastructure that has been operational for the past century. For this reason, new implementation projects may well take years in some cases decades instead of months or weeks.
This paper explores the issues and challenges facing the telecom carriers as they plan, implement, migrate to, and operate their next generation networks. It identifies best practices that are beginning to emerge in the areas of planning, implementation, migration, and operations.
The concepts and best practices discussed are based upon four years of interactions with IP transformation program team members planners, network designers, operations team members, and IT personnel from Alcatel-Lucent and wireless and wireline carriers located around the world.