Ajay Joseph is Chief Technology Offi cer at iBasis, responsible for the technical strategy, innovation and engineering of the iBasis network infrastructure. He and his team are active contributors in GSMA sub-groups and the i3 Forum. Since 1999, Ajay has lead the development of iBasis&#x2019; network architecture and systems, which resulted in one of the most advanced
VoIP networks in the world. Ajay was also instrumental in the development of iBasis&#x2019; patented quality management systems, including Assured Quality Routing (AQR) and the PathEngine routing. Prior to joining iBasis, Ajay was manager and architect of the IP Telecom division at GTE Internetworking responsible for new VoIP-based services. He also held senior-level engineering and design positions at DeskNet Systems and NYNEX Science & Technology. Ajay is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School. He holds Professional Engineering and Master
of Science Engineering from Columbia University. degrees in Electrical
Q: What innovative services will drive the deployment of IPX?
AJ: MNOs are focussing increasingly on the services side of their business. More and more players are in transition from a network-centric to a service-centric organisation. For MNOs, innovation in services and applications provided to users is the key competitive differentiator today. Initial services will span voice, data and signalling, including Premium Voice service over IPX, GRX and enhanced services such as high fi delity voice. HD voice provides a dramatic improvement in voice quality. In HD voice, a wideband codec doubles the sampling rate and more than doubles the width of the sound spectrum reproduced, from 50Hz to 7,000Hz or 7KHz. In effect, you hear lower lows and higher highs &#x2013; sounds that simply don&#x2019;t get transmitted through lesser codecs. This adds signifi cant depth and nuance to the transmitted sound &#x2013; and it reduces the bandwidth requirement to 32Kbps, half that of PSTN transmission. HD voice technology provides CD quality sound and double the quality of typical mobile 12 Kbps calls. With the ever-growing data capacity of IP networks we can expect every IP connection to be voice-enabled with true HD capability relatively soon. HD voice opens a myriad of applications and, for service providers, access to new markets in a more global environment. The higher bandwidth LTE provides is required by the explosion in mobile data services and applications. IPX will be the network of networks that connects LTE islands into a global communications fabric enabling the exchange of real-time services between MNOs.
Q: What are the potential obstacles to the widespread adoption of IPX from a technical and business point of view?
AJ: Technically, the biggest potential issue may be interoperability between the parties connected to the IPX. While the GSMA and the many member companies who engaged in IPX trials, including iBasis, continue to work hard to establish the standards and guidelines, the early adopters may experience some growing pains. However, we are confi dent that the work that has been completed during the last several years will minimize the challenges going forward. Other challenges are more in the realm of marketing. For example, we must overcome the misperception that IP, in any form, delivers lower quality than TDM. Much of this bias is outdated, as it comes from early experiences using the public internet for real-time communications. Today, even the internet is better and more reliable than this perception. Moreover, the IPX utilises managed IP, typically in the form of MPLS, to deliver guaranteed quality and reliability, backed up by SLAs. One of the toughest hurdles today for IPX is in regards to the business model, which is still in development. IPX requires a move from a transaction-based to a service-based model. This presents a signifi cant challenge to the traditional minutes-of-use (MoU) model that still drives the voice communications industry today. Consumers have become accustomed to the &#x201C;freemium&#x201D; model, which is typical of internet-based communications services. Providers offer free service as a means to &#x201C;build community&#x201D;. Once they have attracted a large number of customers, they begin to monetise the offering through additional value-added features and services. While consumers may be comfortable with this model, traditional telecommunications service providers can&#x2019;t monetise complementary services or features as easily as internet companies can. The commercial model for the IPX is likely to take longer to evolve than the underlying technology did, but in the end, a sustainable business model benefi ts both providers and consumers.
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