IMS: The Faithful Bedfellow of MNOs Everywhere
Despite the daily hoopla surrounding 5G, carriers continue to invest heavily in 4G-related technologies, especially IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem). Although it doesn’t have the mystique of 5G, it more than makes up for it by being currently available and not just a faint promise of what may or may not actually happen.
IMS is that faithful technology that had its heyday ten years ago; the faithful tech partner that — despite its current lack of hype or status as revolutionary — is, nevertheless, spawning a significant number of VoLTE announcements.
Tech Mahindra, for instance, recently utilized Oracle’s IMS technology to create a voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) managed services package for wireless operators that want to quickly add that capability to their offerings. (See Oracle, Tech Mahindra Deliver VoLTE-aaS.)
ZTE, meanwhile, is helping Telefónica build a regional, virtual IMS platform in Latin America by supplying NFV infrastructure and virtual network function (VNF) elements that will be used to provision VoLTE. (See ZTE Scores NFV Deal at Telefónica.)
Likewise, vendors are positioning themselves in the IMS market. Metaswitch recently acquired OpenCloud, an application server company, to add functionality to its virtualized IMS core and enter the VoLTE market as a pure-play software provider. (See Metaswitch Eyes VoLTE With OpenCloud Buy.)
As the number of IMS deployments continues to grow, the need for testing and monitoring of these solutions will be paramount. There are a number of IMS testing solutions listed in Testapedia, including:
- TEMS Monitor Master from InfoVista, an active test and monitoring solution for VoLTE and other IMS services, with tests based on virtualized agents that utilize a custom IMS client that drills down to any element within the core network.
- The multi-user test platform Spectra2 from NetScout Systems, which tests IMS, PSTN and LTE evolved packet core deployments for functionality, performance and media quality, as well as functional, load and media testing of the core network.
- Spirent‘s ProLab, a testing suite for IMS, RCS and VoLTE that emulates real-world network conditions for real-time testing of voice and video over LTE devices. It also has a feature testing system for IMS user equipment applications and IMS servers to simulate signaling and media, such as end-user experience and call features testing.